Five separate shark attacks have been reported in the past two weeks off the coast of Long Island, New York, in what officials say could be the ‘new normal.’
Four of the attacks took place on Fire Island, including two at Smith Point Beach, a popular vacation spot, and two near the village of Ocean Beach. The fifth reported attack took place on Jones Beach Island.
None of the victims were seriously injured, officials said.
The first attack took place on June 30 at Jones Beach, where a 37-year-old man was bitten on his right foot.
Police in Nassau County, where the other four attacks occurred, said they would increase patrols across beaches in light of the attacks.
Several days later, a lifeguard at Smith Point Beach was bitten by a shark w hile training with other lifeguards and pretending to be a drowning victim. Later that week, a second lifeguard was bitten at Ocean Beach near Fire Island.
The lifeguard was about 150 to 200 yards from the shore when the attack took place, and only received minor injuries to their ankle, officials said.
Two separate attacks took place at the same beach less than a week after the first recorded incident on Fire Island.
The first attack on July 13 happened before lifeguards were on duty for the day, at approximately 7.45am, when a surfer was bitten by a shark, according to officials.
The attack, which officials believe was from a tiger shark, left a 4-inch wide gash on the surfer’s leg. A wave carried the surfer and his board back to shore before the shark could do further damage, officials said.
While lifeguards weren’t on the scene, a park ranger was there to call 911.
After the beach reopened several hours later, a second attack took place at Seaview Beach. A 49-year-old man from Arizona who was standing waist-deep in water was later bitten by a shark just after 6pm that evening. He sustained non life-threatening injuries to his left wrist and buttocks, police said.
Following the first attacks, officials in both Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island have held briefings to warn beach goers of the increase in attacks.
At a news conference, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman jumped into the water himself in an attempt to reassure swimmers and beach goers.
‘If you’re going to go in the ocean, it’s good to go with a partner. Always go on a protected beach where there are lifeguards,’ Blakeman said. ‘If you do those things, you will be safe.’
According to officials, there was only one shark attack reported on Long Island last summer, in which a lifeguard was bitten.
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