Newport Beach

Triathlete's Fitness Helped Her Survive Possible Shark Attack: Doctors

Maria Korcs-Maros, 52, was training for a triathlon when she was attacked Sunday off Corona del Mar State Beach.

A woman hospitalized after being attacked off the coast of Newport Beach, possibly by a shark, was identified Tuesday as a physical fitness instructor whose conditioning likely helped her survive serious injuries, according to doctors.

Maria Korcs-Maros, 52, was remarkably calm when she arrived at the hospital in critical condition after suffering what appeared to be a shark bite that stretched from her shoulder to her pelvic area, according to doctors. The triathlete and mother of three children was training at about 4 p.m. Sunday 1.5 miles off Corona del Mar State Beach for an upcoming triathlon event when she was attacked.

Dr. Philip Rotter, director of orthopedic surgery at Orange County Global Medical Center, said Korcs-Maros suffered what appeared to be one large bite on the right side of her body. Lifeguards on a patrol boat who responded to Korcs-Maros did not find a shark, but the bite appears consistent with that of a shark, doctors said.

"You can see individual marks from individual teeth," said Dr. Philip Rotter, director of orthopedic surgery at Orange County Global Medical Center.

Korcs-Maros, of Corona, remained hospitalized Tuesday. She was training for a July 10 competition in Canada, and 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 Korcs-Maros 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."

The attack prompted authorities to clear the ocean water of swimmers from the Balboa Pier south to Crystal Cove State Beach. The stretch of beach from The Wedge to Balboa Pier was reopened Tuesday while the stretch from Corona del Mar State Beach south to Crystal Cove is expected to remain closed until at least Wednesday morning.

Contact Us