Long Island shark bite survivor describes attack: 'I was in a trap'
Lyudmila Emag said the shark's teeth clamped down on her thigh.
A New York woman who survived a Fourth of July shark attack while swimming off a Long Island beach spoke out Thursday for the first time since her harrowing ordeal, telling ABC's "Good Morning America" how she struggled to free herself from the ocean predator's clenched jaws.
Lyudmila Emag, 47, of Brooklyn, told "GMA" how she was able to get her hands inside a shark's mouth and pry herself free after it bit her upper thigh and groin while she was swimming off Fire Island.
"It felt like something grabbed me by my thigh and I screamed (to) my friend ... 'Something is biting me,'" Emag recalled. "I felt, you know, like I was in a trap."
Emag said that as the shark's razor-sharp teeth dug into her leg, she began to fight back.
"I had to really struggle to ... unclench the jaw," Emag said. "I saw the blood, but I was still walking ... I knew I'm going to be fine."
Two of Emag's friends swimming with her were able to get her to shore, where lifeguards called 911. She was taken to South Shore University Hospital where emergency room physician Dr. Nadia Baranchuk treated her, hospital officials said.
Baranchuk, who told reporters at a news conference Thursday that she hadn't treated shark bites prior to that day, recalled how Emag was calm when she was brought into the hospital.
"She didn't ask for pain medications," she said. "I think her adrenaline was still probably pretty high after this."
Emag said that after flushing out her wound, doctors took X-rays to confirm she had no foreign bodies in her wounds that could cause an infection.
She said she didn't get stitches and was sent home with antibiotics. She told reporters that she will likely go back into the water once her wounds heal.
Baranchuck said Emag wasn't the only shark-bite victim she treated on Independence Day. Earlier that day, Baranchuk said she treated another patient who was also bitten by a shark and needed more care than Emag. Surgeons removed a shark tooth from that patient's hand, according to the hospital.
There were a total of five shark bite incidents off New York beaches during the July 4th weekend, according to officials.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced a program that provided $1 million in funding to state beaches to buy 42 drones that would monitor the waters for sharks. The drones have been in operation at Westchester, New York City and Long Island beaches.
Shark attacks have been reported in other states as well. As of July 17, there have been at least 46 shark-bite attacks on humans in the United States this year, including seven fatalities, according to the website trackingsharks.com, which monitors shark attacks around the globe. At least 13 of the attacks have occurred in California, 13 in Florida and three in Hawaii, according to the website.
On Friday, a 21-year-old Florida man added his name to the list. Chris Pospisil described to "GMA" on Thursday his battle with a shark that chomped on his foot.
"I saw my foot in its mouth and I saw its teeth, and it all happened like literally in a second," Chris Pospisil said of the attack that unfolded Friday while he was surfboarding off New Smyrna Beach, Florida. "I thought my foot might be gone when it first attacked me. The first thing that went through my mind was this can't be real."
The shark attack was captured by a Surfline live-stream camera and the footage showed Pospisil being yanked from his surfboard and splashing in the water as the marine-life meat-eater dragged him under.
"It took me underwater and I kicked it once then it let go," Pospisil said.
He said he swam to the surface and screamed for his surfing buddy, Reece Redish, to help him.
Redish said he immediately sprang into action.
"The only way I could describe it is pure adrenaline," Redish said on "GMA." "My friend's hurt, clearly. So, I've got to help him out no matter what circumstance."