ROCKAWAY BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- At City Hall on Monday night, five lifeguards, two EMTs, and three police officers were honored for saving Tatyana Koltunyuk, 65, who was attacked by a shark.
It was early August 7 - Koltunyuk was trying to enjoy the beginning of her retirement with a swim in the ocean.
"She felt something bump into her hard, she saw all of its teeth. She described how green and dirty they were. Then the shark attacked and she remembers a cloud of blood in the water," said the victim's daughter, Dasha Koltunuk.
That is when lifeguard Romeo Ortiz raced into the surf and carried her to shore.
"As soon as I got her out, saw there was profuse bleeding all over the place. My idea was to stop the bleeding and used whatever was available," Ortiz said.
Ortiz grabbed some sweatpants to tie over the wound while lifeguard Billy McDonnell used the rope from a buoy for a tighter grip.
"Whole Romeo and William were applying tourniquet, I applied pressure under her hamstring to mitigate some of the bleeding," said lifeguard Nora Schreiber.
Once police and EMTs arrived at Rockaway Beach, it was a mad race to the hospital.
"I was in the back of the ambulance with her to make sure she was comforted," said Officer Rinaldo.
Koltunuk underwent more than a half dozen surgeries and still has a long road ahead. An immigrant from Ukraine, Eyewitness News is told he is a fighter. She could not attend the ceremony but left a thank you note to be read to her heroes.
"I consider myself lucky to be here and marvel in life's miracles," Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi read.
Now that summer is over, Ortiz would like to become a city lifeguard year-round. Schreiber is back teaching 7th grade - and is probably the coolest in her middle school. McDonnell says he would like to join the FDNY - his mother says he does not have a girlfriend.
"I think it's a group effort. Lifeguard, EMTs, police - one without the other wouldn't work," McDonnell said.
None of these heroes will take full credit for the rescue - perhaps that is why Koltunuk survived -- because of their teamwork.