Multiple shark attacks were reported off Long Island, New York’s shores, with two swimmers being attacked on Tuesday, following two attacks the previous day. Over the weekend, drones spotted approximately 50 sand tiger sharks near a popular swimming location, leading to the delay of beach openings and the advising of swimmers to stay close to shore. Despite the attacks, beachgoers continue to flock to the water, leaving experts to speculate that human encroachment on the shark’s habitats may be a factor in the increase in attacks.
By CBS Team; July 5, 2023
Two swimmers were apparently attacked by sharks off the shores of Long Island on Tuesday, a day after two others reported being attacked while enjoying the water at popular New York beaches.
At least one beach delayed opening to holiday revelers Tuesday, after officials said drones spotted some 50 sand sharks that morning near a popular beach park. When the beach reopened, swimmers were advised to stay close to shore.
“This morning, prior to lifeguards going on duty and our authorizing swimming, we had a complete drone patrol. And right here in front of Field 3, we saw a school of sharks. There were approximately 50 sand sharks there,” Charles Gorman, New York State Parks Regional Director, told CBS New York.
The beach was closed once more after a possible shark sighting, but officials determined it was a dolphin.
After a spate of attacks last year, state parks officials have increased patrols and deployed more drones to scout the waters for possible danger.
“We did have a season last year where we had six swimmers bitten from sharks, so this has turned into a bit of a concern,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison told WABC.
Tuesday’s incidents happened about 60 miles (95 kilometers) apart, including one off Fire Island Pines – not far from another attack the day before when a 15-year-old reported being bitten on one of his feet by a shark while surfing.
Earlier Monday, another 15-year-old girl was treated for an apparent shark bite to a leg.
“She didn’t see what bit her, the lifeguards didn’t know what bit her, the drone operator checked the area, we didn’t see,” Gorman said. “So we can’t definitively say what bit her.”
Tuesday’s shark encounters both occurred just before 2 p.m.
A 47-year-old man was in chest-deep water off Quogue Village Beach in the Hamptons when he felt an apparent bite to his right knee, Quogue police said. He told authorities that he did not see a shark.
As a precaution, Quogue police advised swimmers to stay out of the water until officials could assess the risks.
Soon after, miles away, a 49-year-old man reported having a hand bitten while swimming near Fire Island Pines Beach.
Despite the attacks, holiday revelers remained on the beach.
“That’s nature and maybe we are taking over their domain and they don’t like it,” 90-year-old Diana Fratello told CBS New York.
During the summer of 2022, there were eight shark bites off Long Island shores.