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Triathlete survives shark attack while training for Ironman in California

Newport beach in California with palm trees along the shore
Newport beach in California, where Maria Korcsmaros was attacked by a shark during training.

A triathlete attacked by a shark while swimming off the coast of Newport beach in California on Sunday survived thanks to her high fitness level, according to doctors.

Doctors say that Maria Korcsmaros, 52, escaped the shark attack with just a single bite extending from her shoulder to pelvis because she was able to tread water until she was rescued.

“She was able to tread water and hold her own until help arrived and that’s pretty remarkable,” Dr. Philip Rotter, a physician at Orange County Global Medical Centre where Korcsmaros is being treated, told a news conference. She was about swimming about 150 metres out from the beach and was pulled from the water by patrol boats after lifeguards spotted her distressed from shore.

In addition to being a triathlete, Korecsmaros is a personal trainer and aerobics instructor.

“She seems like a very strong lady, she’s remarkably calm,” Dr. Humberto Sauri, medical director of trauma services at the hospital, told reporters.

Korcsmaros is in stable condition and did not suffer any shock after the attack. Doctors are working to prevent any infections from the bite, which they said left teeth marks from her shoulder to pelvis.

It is unclear what type of shark attacked her, but a record 98 shark attacks occurred in the United States, an increase due to the rise in shark populations since the 1990s.