None of the victims have been severely injured, and the sharks sighted have been estimated to be 4 to 5 ft in size, officers stated.
Shark sightings have been growing off U.S. coasts, which scientists attribute to profitable conservation efforts that have restored populations nearer to historic ranges. Still, the current spate of attacks was extremely uncommon — there have been solely 47 confirmed unprovoked attacks nationwide in 2021, in keeping with the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.
“This is not something that is precedented in any way in our history here in Suffolk County,” Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone stated at a information convention Thursday. “Prior to July 3, we had not had a recorded shark bite at [Smith Point Beach] since it had opened, during beach hours, back in 1959.”
Bellone stated the county is deploying drones and elevated lifeguard patrols to observe the waters, acknowledging that the uptick could characterize the “new normal.”
“The idea of more frequent contact with these kind of sharks may be what we will be coming to expect,” Bellone stated at a separate information convention Wednesday, forward of the fifth assault.
The first of the current attacks came about June 30, when a 57-year-old man swimming at Jones Beach suffered a laceration on his proper foot that paramedics recognized as a “possible shark bite,” in keeping with the Nassau County Police Department.
Three days later, Zach Gallo, 33, a lifeguard at Smith Point Beach, was taking part in the function of a sufferer in a rescue coaching train when he turned one himself, WABC reported. He felt a roughly four-foot shark whip him with its tail after which chunk his hand, in keeping with the station.
“I felt pressure in my hand, pulled it back and I just started hammering, punching and I connected with the shark three times, and then on the third time it spun away,” Gallo instructed WABC. “I guess my adrenaline, survival instincts kicked in.”
Gallo returned to work Thursday, saying on the information convention with Bellone that he was grateful his accidents have been minor and that his fellow lifeguards got here to his support.
“If you do go in the ocean, make sure you are going into an area that’s protected by lifeguards,” Gallo stated.
On July 7, first-year lifeguard John Mullins, 17, was bitten on his foot whereas additionally taking part in the function of a sufferer throughout a coaching train close to Ocean Beach, in keeping with CBS New York.
“The teeth were inside my skin and when I pulled my foot out, it kind of just felt like a scrape, like a rake going up my foot,” Mullins instructed the station. “We never expect to be attacked while we’re training, but they handled it well.”
Mullins obtained 5 stitches and was out of labor whereas his foot healed, CBS New York reported.
On Wednesday morning, a surfer was bitten by a roughly four-foot tiger shark, leaving a four-inch gash, in keeping with Bellone. The man was knocked off his board and noticed the shark circling again towards him, however a wave carried him into shore, Bellone stated.
Roughly 11 hours later, police have been known as to Seaview Beach after a 49-year-old Arizona man standing in “waist deep water” was bitten from behind on his left wrist and buttocks, in keeping with Suffolk County police. He walked out of the water and was taken by helicopter to a hospital with accidents that weren’t life-threatening, police stated.
Christopher Paparo, supervisor of the Marine Science Center at Stony Brook University, stated the sequence of attacks is “definitely something that you don’t hear every day,” however pressured that the probabilities of encountering a shark stay “very low.”
He stated the sharks off Long Island are largely sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, and dusky sharks, all fish eaters that most likely assault people mistakenly whereas searching bait fish.
“They don’t have the teeth or jaw structure where they could eat a person even if they wanted to,” he stated. “They’re not out there looking for a swimmer or surfer.”
Paparo stated the rise in encounters is a “sign that we’re doing things right” in phrases of conservation.
“What happened in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, they were heavily fished, and many of their populations neared complete collapse,” he stated. “Then through regulation and conservation of not only sharks, but their food — the Atlantic menhaden, which is better-known as bunker — these populations have rebounded, and we’re starting to now see them once again in the numbers that they used to be.”
Paparo stated beachgoers ought to swim in lifeguard-protected areas and keep away from the water when it’s murky or they see education fish. Sharks additionally usually feed extra at daybreak and nightfall, he added.
Bellone stated officers don’t count on any severe accidents from shark attacks given the species that have been sighted, however urged beachgoers to take heed to their environment. Do not put on shiny jewellery or enter the water whereas bleeding, and keep nearer to shore, he stated.
At a information convention Sunday, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman jumped into the water himself, in search of to reassure beachgoers that they will keep away from sharks with easy precautions.
“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 stated. “If you do those things, you will be safe.”
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