5 shark attacks on Long Island putting beachgoers on alert
Lifeguards on paddleboards have been patrolling beaches after recent shark attacks
SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. – It sounds like the plot of a movie, but reports of at least five shark attacks on Long Island over the past few weeks are most certainly real life.
The attacks have kept lifeguards and first responders busy rendering aid to those who have bitten, but luckily none of the injuries have been described as life-threatening.
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Two of the most recent attacks occurred on Wednesday within hours of each other.
On Wednesday afternoon, a man from Arizona was attacked from behind while standing in waist-deep water along Seaview Beach, and officials say he was bitten at least two times.
Hours before, on Smith Point Beach, a man on a paddleboard was bitten on his leg.
According to FOX News correspondent Alexis McAdams, officials on Long Island said that man had a 4-inch gash on his leg and was taken to a local hospital.
That victim told authorities that he was bitten by a 4-foot sand tiger shark that clamped onto his leg.
"[He] was knocked off the paddle board, took a punch at the shark and saw the shark coming back around," Suffolk County Executive Steve Belloneat said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "[He was] so very fortunate that a wave came in and pushed him towards the shore."
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Two lifeguards have also been bitten while patrolling local beaches on Long Island.
On July 3, Smith Point and Cupsogue Beach were closed to swimmers after one lifeguard was attacked in the chest and hand by a shark during a training exercise.
That lifeguard was taken to a hospital to be treated with stitches and is expected to recover.
Days later, another shark bit a teenage lifeguard off Ocean Beach on Fire Island, according to a report from FOX 5 New York.
Swimming was temporarily banned after that attack, and the lifeguard made a full recovery.
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And at the end of June, police in Nassau County investigated another shark attack at Wantagh Beach on Long Island.
FOX 5 reported a 37-year-old man was swimming when he was attacked and suffered a large cut on his foot.
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Officials said murky water, which is common at those beaches, can make spotting sharks more difficult.
But they reiterated that shark attacks are extremely rare, so they don't want to cause a panic or keep anyone out of the water this summer.
But if you want to avoid a potential encounter with a shark, keep an eye out for schools of fish, lifeguards said. You should also avoid that area or get out of the water altogether.
Be sure to watch FOX Weather at 8 p.m. ET or 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 16th and Sunday, July 17th, for Sharks: From the Depths courtesy of KTTV, FOX 11 Los Angeles. Take a look inside the illegal shark finning trade, how shark behavior affects the environment, and one on one with a shark attack survivor. You won't believe what he's doing now.