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Six US scrapes with predators in the sea

Byusanewscart.com

Dec 31, 2023

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As of Dec. 15, there have been 80 shark attack bites recorded worldwide in 2023, per TrackingSharks.com – 13 of them were fatal. Half of this year’s shark attacks took place in the United States, with 20 in Florida, five in Hawaii, two in California, six in New York and three in South Carolina. 

Only one shark encounter in U.S. waters proved fatal this year, per the site.

Fox News Digital compiled six incredible stories from shark attack victims who lived to tell the tale.

Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York

New York’s Rockaway Beach was shut down after 65-year-old swimmer Tatyana Koltunyuk lost “approximately 20 pounds of flesh” to a roving shark, per the New York Post.

The outlet also obtained a grisly photo of the woman’s thigh with a large chunk of flesh missing after the Aug. 7 incident. She was transported to nearby Jamaica Hospital and survived the attack. 

Koltunyuk underwent at least five surgeries after the attack and faces permanent disability, per a GoFundMe set up by her family. 

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New York shark

Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, lost approximately 20 pounds of flesh from her upper left thigh when she was attacked by a shark on New York City’s Rockaway Beach on Aug. 7, according to officials. (GoFundMe)

Police respond to reports of a shark attack on Rockaway Beach on August 7

Police respond to Rockaway Beach at Beach 59th Street in Queens, New York City after a swimmer was attacked by a shark on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. (Photo by Gardiner Anderson for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Ponce Inlet, Florida

Two swimmers were bitten at the same Florida beach over Labor Day weekend – both victims survived, and it is unclear whether they were attacked by the same shark. 

One victim, a 37-year-old woman from Apopka, Florida, was bitten on her right foot while swimming in shallow waters on Ponce Inlet, the Volusia County Beach Safety unit confirmed to Fox 35 Orlando at the time. She reportedly never saw the shark that bit her. 

The second victim, a man in his 30s, was bitten on his left hand near the Ponce Inlet Jetty. He refused medical attention at the scene and drove himself to an area hospital, the outlet reported. 

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Shark dive in Florida

A shark runs into the lens of a photographer during an outing with scuba company Emerald Charters off Jupiter Inlet, Florida, May 18, 2022. (REUTERS/Sam Wolfe)

New Smyrna, Florida

Mark Sumersett of South Carolina, 38, detailed his unexpected meeting with the shark that bit his face on Sept. 12 during his Florida vacation.

“I got bit when I was a little kid by a dog, and it kind of felt like that, but like a bear trap closing in on me,” the surfer told Fox 35 Orlando of the interaction at the popular New Smyrna Beach. It was definitely a fight or flight situation.”

Sumersett got 12 stitches along his cheek and chin after the face-to-face encounter. 

“God has a reason for me to be here. And that’s to help other people on this earth,” he said. “I’m just so grateful.” 

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Mark Summerset

Mark Summerset is “so grateful” to be alive after a shark bit him on his face at a popular Florida beach in September. (FOX 35 Orlando)

Mark Summerset

Mark Summerset got 12 stitches to his cheek and chin after the attack, which he compared to a dog bite he sustained as a child. (FOX 35 Orlando)

St. Petersburg, Florida

A Florida woman swimming off the Gulf Coast in St. Petersburg on Sept. 30 said she is lucky to be alive after a shark clamped down into her midsection. 

Natalie Branda, 26, got 14 stitches across her backside and stomach after the near-death incident. 

“We were jumping off the boat, swimming around, floating for a few hours. Just having a fun day,” Branda told FOX 13 Tampa Bay. “I just felt pressure, and it released, and I was like ‘I got bit.’ I swam the fastest I ever swam to the boat.”

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Palm Beach, Florida

A drone-flying Florida YouTuber captured a bull shark’s attack on his friend’s boat late this July. Josh Jorgensen, who produces videos for the BlacktipH Fishing channel, caught the animal’s eight attacks on the small vessel off the Palm Beach coast. 

Jorgensen said he was following his boat with his drone because his friend was chasing down two Cobia, which he calls “the tastiest fish in the ocean.” But then, a bull shark appeared, turning its sights to the boat’s engine. 

“I didn’t think a shark could actually shake a boat like that,” boat driver Carl Torresson said in a later interview. “The boat was shaking like a bag of popcorn. Like, literally, I was shaking like an earthquake… I’m like ‘Are you kidding me? This is like a ride from Universal Studios.'”

After the ordeal, the men said, the entire engine had been ripped out entirely.

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New Smyrna, Florida

A Florida surfer credited his survival to his friend’s quick thinking after seeing the water “turn red” with the 21-year-old’s blood. 

Reece Redish was watching Chris Pospisil from the shore of a New Smyrna beach in July when a shark “came from under” the latter man and “tipped [him] backwards off [his] board.” “I saw my foot in his mouth, and it dragged me under,” Pospisil told FOX 35 Orlando. 

Redish immediately jumped into the water, swam out to his friend and pulled the surfer back onto his board. 

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“I’m not going to leave my friend in the water,” Redish told the outlet. “I’m willing to put myself at risk to help out anyone.” 

The surfer sustained extensive damage to his left foot – seven tendons and a couple small arteries needed to be surgically repaired. A skin graft was created to cover the injury, and several pieces of the shark’s tooth were shattered and stuck in Pospisil’s bone. 

However, despite his ordeal, the 21-year-old intends to continue surfing, he told the outlet. 

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