“We tell people that if they’re swimming, they should swim in supervised areas. They should only go waist-high and be aware of their surroundings,” the Ocean Beach Fire Chief told CNN on Thursday. Ian Levin.
The warning comes after several shark attacks have been reported since July 3 on the beaches of Long Island, a large peninsula that stretches more than 120 miles east of New York.
In the most recent attacks, a shark knocked a surfer off his paddle Wednesday morning on the beach at Smith Point County Park, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a news conference. The surfer suffered a bite wound to the leg before hitting the shark and riding a wave to shore.
The beach was temporarily closed for several hours while officials scanned the area’s waters for additional shark presence with drones, Bellone added.
Hours later, a shark bit a 49-year-old man in waist-deep water off Fire Island after rescuers left the beach for the day, police said. The man got out of the water and was later airlifted to hospital.
“He said he felt a large animal rubbing against him by his side. He went to pull it away and that’s when his hand got bitten,” Levine said.
On Thursday, a beach in Fire Island state was briefly closed due to a shark sighting and reopened after a drone survey found no sharks, officials said.
Bellone said shark activity closer to shore could be a new reality for beachgoers and safety officials.
“I think it’s an indication, though, that what we’re looking at is something of a new normal in that sharks are – these tiger sharks are just a little bit closer to shore than they are. have been,” he said. . “They’ve always been there, of course you interact with sea life every time you’re in the ocean, but they’re closer to shore now. And those contacts — those interactions with humans and sharks may increase,” Bellone said.
Earlier this month, two lifeguards were attacked by sharks while acting as casualties during safety training drills.
Authorities temporarily closed the beach at Smith Point County Park after a shark bit a 10-year-old veteran lifeguard on the chest and hand on July 3 during a training exercise. The beach was reopened in time for the July 4 holiday after drone sweeping measurements cleared the waters, Bellone told reporters at the time.
Another man training for an upcoming lifeguard test was attacked during a training exercise on July 8, less than a mile from the site of Wednesday’s shark encounter.
“He was actually playing the victim and he was coming out to be rescued and I guess his whole fight caused the disruption,” Levine told CNN.