52-year-old’s Physical Fitness Helped Her Survive CdM Shark Attack: Doctors

UPDATE, MAY 31, 4:30 P.M.:
A portion of the Newport Beach coast that had been closed to ocean access was reopened this afternoon, according to a city spokeswoman.

The map above shows the open area, which is basically Balboa Pier to the Wedge. Ocean access from Corona del Mar State Beach to Crystal Cove State Beach remains closed but will reopen Wednesday “unless searchers observe shark activity in the area, says Tara Finniganm the city’s public information manager.

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 31, 1:30 P.M.: “My motto is ‘Live Long & Strong!,” reads the message atop 52-year-old Maria Korcsmaros’ Twitter page. “Eat good nutritious food & exercise often.”

Those are apparently words to live by, especially if bitten by a shark, as Korcsmaros did after 4 p.m. Sunday off Corona del Mar State Beach.

The mother of three (ages 24, 22 and 16) was pulled bleeding from the ocean after lifeguards in a patrol boat noticed she was in distress.

The Corona resident’s excellent physical fitness is helping her survive the brutal attack, said doctors at a press conference this morning at Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana.

Korcsmaros is being treated for a large bite wound stretching from her upper body to the pelvic area on her right side.

“Very obviously a mouth,” says Dr. Philip Rotter, the hospital’s director of orthopedic surgery, of the impression. “You can see individual marks from individual teeth.”

Korcsmaros’ Twitter feed indicates she teaches classes with the City of Corona’s Parks and Recreation Department, including one titled “Core Nutrition and Smart Exercise.”

The “About Us” section of her website—piyo4ufitness.com—states Korcsmaros hails from Toronto, moved to El Paso in 1998 and came to Southern California from the Dallas area in July 2008.

“I have been in fitness all my life and enjoy doing triathlons in my spare time to keep up with my goals,” she writes. “I have certifications with AFAA ( American Federation of Aerobic Instructors). I continue to update my certifications every two years and have been certified since 2004.”
As part of training for a half-Iron Man competition scheduled for July 10 in Canada,  she was swimming about 1.5 miles off the Newport Beach coast, according to medical center officials, who besides crediting her amazing survival to physical fitness pointed to Korcsmaros remaining calm throughout the ordeal.

“She had significant open wounds … those are wounds that would have bled a lot,” Rotter told reporters. “She was able to tread water and hold her own until help arrived. So that’s pretty remarkable.”

It remains unclear whether Korcsmaros will regain full use of her right arm, but you obviously can’t count this lady out.

“Remarkably, right now, her nerves are all functioning,” Rotter reported. “… It’s much too early to tell … but right now it looks good.”

Ocean waters from Balboa Pier south to Crystal Cove State Beach remain closed today, as they have been since Sunday afternoon’s attack. Shark warning signs dot the local beaches. No sharks have been spotted in the area as of early this afternoon.

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