The hunt for an elusive shark that viciously attacked a woman swimmer off the Orange County coast continued Wednesday as the bloodied victim with “significant open wounds” remained hospitalized and all beaches were reopened.
Corona del Mar State Beach was reopened at 7:30 a.m,. Wednesday, said Andrea Talbott of the Newport Beach Marine Operations Division. That had been the final area still closed after authorities tried to find the shark following the Sunday late afternoon attack.
Newport Beach lifeguards on Tuesday had reopened the beach from Balboa Pier south to the Wedge, said city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan.
But even though the beaches in Orange County had all been opened to swimmers, authorities continued to keep watch for any possible reappearance of the shark.
Maria Korcsmaros, 52, who was attacked off the coast of Corona del Mar, remains hospitalized.
A doctor said the victim was “remarkably calm” through the ordeal, adding her strong physical condition was a major factor in her survival. Korcsmaros is an aerobics and fitness trainer in Corona and a mother of three — aged 16, 22, and 24.
Officials at Orange County Global Medical Center reported her condition was stabilized that she was alert and talking, Finnigan said.
City officials have yet to find any more sign of the shark despite searches from the air and water, Finnigan said.
The woman was pulled bleeding from the ocean off Corona del Mar State Beach at 4:15 p.m. Sunday when lifeguards on a patrol boat noticed she was in distress, according to Finnigan. Authorities said her wounds appeared to be consistent with a shark bite.
The attack prompted authorities to clear the ocean water of swimmers from the Balboa Pier south to Crystal Cove State Beach.
Dr. Philip Rotter, director of orthopedic surgery at Orange County Global Medical Center, said Korcsmaros suffered what appeared to be one large bite on the right side of her body, stretching from her upper body to her pelvic area.
Hospital officials said Korcsmaros was swimming about 1.5 miles off the coast, training for a half-Iron Man competition scheduled for July 10 in Canada, when she was attacked.
Rotter and Dr. Humberto Sauri both credited Korcsmaros’ level of physical fitness for helping to save her life.
“She had significant open wounds … those are wounds that would have bled a lot,” Rotter said. “She was able to tread water and hold her own until help arrived. So that’s pretty remarkable.”
Both doctors also said she was calm throughout the ordeal.
“She’s a very strong lady. She’s remarkably calm,” Sauri said.
Sauri said Korcsmaros will likely be hospitalized for at least another week.
According to Rotter, time will tell if she will have full use of her right arm.
“Remarkably, right now her nerves are all functioning,” he said. “… It’s much too early to tell … but right now it looks good.”
—City News Service