2nd shark bite reported on Long Island beach hours after paddleboarder bit

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, July 14, 2022
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A second shark bite was reported on a Long Island beach Wednesday, just hours after Smith Point Beach was temporarily closed to swimming after a paddleboarder was bitten.

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- A second shark bite was reported on a Long Island beach Wednesday, just hours after Smith Point Beach was temporarily closed to swimming after a paddleboarder was bitten.

Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers responded to Seaview Beach, after a man was bitten by a shark at approximately 6:05 p.m.

The 49-year-old Arizona man was standing in waist deep water, when a shark came up from behind and bit him on the left wrist and buttocks.

He walked out of the water and was transported by a Suffolk County Police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The first incident on Wednesday, happened around 7:45 a.m. in Smith Point County Park.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said a 41-year-old victim suffered a 4-inch gash to his leg, with a 4-foot long tiger shark believed to be responsible.

He said the paddleboarder was knocked off the board and then punched the shark, which approached a second time when a wave separated them and carried the victim to shore.

The attack occurred when no lifeguards were on duty, said Bellone, who called the incident "a new normal."

"These tiger sharks are just a little bit closer to shore than they've been," he said. "They've always been here. They've always been out here, but they're closer to shore now."

The victim was treated at Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue.

It is the second shark encounter at the same beach in the last 10 days, and sixth across Long Island this summer.

Officials have been monitoring the beaches using boats, helicopters and drones after an uptick in shark encounters in waters off both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches were forced to close earlier this month after a lifeguard was bitten during a water rescue training simulation.

A few days after that, some Suffolk County beaches were put on alert after another lifeguard was bitten by a shark at Ocean Beach on Fire Island.

While the three incident these past two weeks are alarming, a shark biologist with the New York Aquarium says your chances of encountering one are still extremely small.

"We are more in tune to sharks than ever before, and I think that's a bigger issue than an actual increase in incidents or an actual increase in the number of sharks," Hans Walters said.

He says there is no evidence that swimmers are more at risk this year than in years past.

Fortunately, none of the shark bites in the United States this year have been deadly.

Smith Point Beach reopened to swimming Wednesday afternoon.

ALSO READ | Woman and child killed in Hudson River boating accident

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