great white shark
Shark attacks have hit a record high in 2015, with US, Australia and South Africa witnessing the highest numbers REUTERS/Seachangetechnolgy

A female fitness instructor who suffered severe shark bites on the Californian coast has spoken of her ordeal after surviving the attack. Maria Korcsmaros was rescued by lifeguards at Corona Del Mar State Beach on 29 May afternoon when she called for help after the shark bit her on the side.

According to AP, the guards noted the water around the swimmer grew still and was bloody, and whisked her away from the waters.

"It felt like a big bite and then it let go. And then I was like, 'OK, I've got to get out of here'. I instantly knew it was some kind of fish, and probably a big fish, like a shark," the 52-year-old survivor told reporters from her hospital bed at Orange County Global Medical Centre in Santa Ana.

She was training herself for a triathlon when the shark bit her on her upper torso and the marks extended from her shoulders to pelvis. She also suffered two fractured ribs.

Korcsmaros , a mother of three, said she was lucky that lifeguard boats were nearby where she was training closer to the shore, but just outside buoys that are marked as protected area for swimming.

The long-term triathlete from California recalled how she found it hard to breathe while bleeding profusely, although she remained awake when she was taken to the hospital, where she underwent surgeries.

Korcsmaros credited her fitness level for surviving the attack. "Because of my fitness and my muscles mass and stuff, going through the abdominal walls and things kind of slowed it down," she told the California-based ABC7 media.

She hopes the shark attack will not put her off swimming and hopes to get back in the water once she recovers. "I'll probably start with my lake swims, and go from there. But I want to train for another race, and I want to do another race," she added.

The Californian beach was shut down following the attack. The shark that bit Korcsmaros was about nine or 10 feet long, Ralph Collier of the Shark Research Committee said. After studying the predator's bite marks on the victim it was believed to be a great white shark.

Shark attacks are reported to be on the rise across the globe, with a record 98 incidents reported in 2015, of which 59 were in the US. Experts believe the shark attacks could be attributed to global warming as shark populations are increasing, while more and more people are heading to beaches due to hot climatic conditions. Recently, an Australian surfer died three days after a shark bit him. He had lost half his leg in the attack.