'Like a bear trap': 16-year-old surfer describes shark bite off Long Island

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Thursday, July 21, 2022
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A surfer was bitten by a shark off Long Island Wednesday night, marking the sixth such incident since June 30.

FIRE ISLAND, Long Island (WABC) -- A surfer was bitten by a shark off Long Island Wednesday night, marking the sixth such incident since June 30.

It comes as the heat wave is keeping beaches pack, and with authorities continuing to monitor shark activity with lifeguards, boats, helicopters and drones.

The 16-year-old surfer, Max Haynes, was bitten about 15 to 20 yards out from Kismet Beach on Fire Island Wednesday evening.

He was bitten on his right foot, and he said he was playing with his friend James, pretending to be a shark about 30 seconds before he was attacked.

"We were actually flipping each other off our boards, scaring each other, you know, grabbing each other's feet in the water pretending we were sharks," he said. "And then all of a sudden, 30 seconds later, I actually get chomped on."

He suffered an approximately 4-inch cut.

"I felt on my foot like a bear trap just get me from below, like hard," he said. "It felt like it broke my foot."

His doctor told him that based off of his bite marks, he could tell the size of the shark's jaw, which led to the estimate that the shark was about 6 feet long.

Haynes is a Fire Island and Jones Beach junior lifeguard, as well as a surf instructor.

"I just started paddling in," he said. "And I was like, 'James, you better follow me especially if you want to get out of here alive.'"

Hs dad was at the shoreline.

"I just saw the blood on his foot, instantly, it scares you," Michael Haynes said. "I am an EMT, so you struggle between being a parent and an EMT. So the EMT part of you is kind of quickly assessing what how severe is it."

Haynes was conscious and carried hundreds of yards to his family's vacation home. There, they controlled the bleeding while waiting for help.

"It really just started hurting when I was in the ambulance," Max said.

Still, he doesn't expect the incident to change his behavior.

"I'm going back in as soon as I can," he said.

It all came the same day as a dead great white shark washed up ashore in Quogue in the Hamptons.

Experts say the warmer and cleaner waters mean sharks are getting closer to shore.

Lifeguards are trained to spot sharks' distinctive fins.

Governor Kathy Hochul says New York State beaches have increased staffing.

Teddy Tilkin, an expert with the Long Island Aquarium, tells Eyewitness News there are several important factors to surviving a shark encounter.

"Stay as calm as possible and try to get away from the shark," Tilkin said.

He said to swim away with as little splashing as possible, so that the shark won't sense that you are injured or distressed.

"If they really were to bite and wanted to eat us, we would be losing limbs and have a lot more external damages to us from a lot of the attacks," he said. "Because sharks are extremely powerful animals."

RELATED | Shark Alley? More sightings off Long Island beaches as swimmers urged to use caution

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