Nassau launches shark warning flag system after record number of sightings

NICKERSON BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is launching a shark warning flag system after a record number of sightings at beaches across the county.

There have been 26 confirmed shark sightings this year so far, six more that was spotted all of last year.

There was two sightings at Jones Beach Monday morning alone, and last month, a lifeguard at Jones Beach claimed to have been bitten by a shark.

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Swimmers were pulled from the water at three different Long Island beaches Thursday after a shark sighting.

Officials unveiled the new purple flag, which will fly for 24 hours after a shark sighting to let beachgoers known that there was a shark in the water.

Previously, swimming was restricted by red flags until the beach was reopened for swimming.

Curran says the goal is not to scare people but to warn beachgoers how to avoid danger.

Brian DeSantis, of Medford, shared pictures with Eyewitness News of the large shark he saw fishermen pull from the water off Smith Point County Beach on Sunday around 4 p.m.

DeSantis said the shark was caught only feet away from where he was in the water.

"I'm telling you right exactly where I was swimming," DeSantis said.

Frank Ferrandiz, of Sayville, said he was surprised when he arrived to the beach Monday.

"We came down the walkway and we noticed that there was nobody in the water," he said.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said this summer is the first time in more than 40 years lifeguards have had to close a Suffolk County beach due to a shark sighting.

He estimated the sharks seen Monday were between five and six feet long.
According to National Geographic, the recovery of shark prey species is leading to an increase in shark bites around the world, rising from 157 incidents between 1970 and 1979 to almost 800 between 2010 and 2019.

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Jordan Prushinsk was swimming with her family when she limped out of the water bleeding from the leg.

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