Shark attack survivor speaks out after July 4th incident off Fire Island

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Shark attack survivor speaks out after July 4th incident off Fire Island
A Brooklyn woman who survived a shark attack on Long Island is speaking out about her ordeal. Darla Miles has the story.

BAY SHORE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A Brooklyn woman who managed to free herself from the jaws of a shark that had clamped down on her leg off Long Island is speaking out about her ordeal.

47-year-old Lyudmila Emag was swimming with two friends in the shallow waters off Fire Island's coast on July 4, when a shark bit her upper thigh and groin.

Emag screamed at the sudden pain of the shark bite.

Remarkably, she managed to get her hands inside the shark's mouth and unclench its jaws from her body.

"I did have a small cut on my on my hand, so it felt like I had to really, you know, struggle to unclench the jaw," said Emag. "I saw the the blood, but I was still walking in. I mean, I knew I'm going to be fine."

ALSO READ: Sharks in New York-area waters: What you need to know | Weather or Not

Two of Emag's friends who were next to her during the attack helped bring the bleeding woman back to shore, where lifeguards called park police for help.

She was transported to South Shore University Hospital (SSUH), where she was actually the second shark attack victim treated that day.

"When I saw her on the stretcher, just to reiterate, she was super calm," said SSUH Emergency Dept. Physician Nadia Baranchuk. "And this is not what you expect from shark bites or bites in general. People are in a lot of pain. I think her adrenaline was pretty high after this."

The attack was one of five shark bite incidents reported over the July 4th holiday weekend on Long Island.

Suffolk County and New York State have since announced stepped-up efforts to protect beachgoers, including the deployment of shark-monitoring drones along Long Island and New York City beaches.

According to, as of July 17, 46 shark bites - including 8 provoked and 7 fatal - have been publicly reported and verified so far this year worldwide.

That number includes 22 shark attack bites this year in the U.S.: 13 in Florida, 3 in Hawaii, 5 in New York and one in South Carolina.

RELATED: Track sharks along Long Island and the Jersey Shore using OCEARCH Shark Tracker


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