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Shark sightings force the closure of several New York beaches this week

There have been reports of seven shark sightings since Monday.

Collier Sutter
Written by
Collier Sutter

On the hottest stretch of the summer yet, Long Island beachgoers have been ordered to get out of the water following multiple shark sightings this week.

Since Monday morning, lifeguards have reported seven shark sightings off East Atlantic Beach, Point Lookout and Long Beach, Newsday reports. A shark was also believed to have been spotted off Jones Beach by swimmers at Field 6, but state park officials said they were unable to verify the Jones Beach sighting.

Officials shut down beaches on the South Shore for the third day in a row on Wednesday after even more sharks were spotted at both Nickerson Beach and at Point Lookout.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin told reporters after the first sighting Monday morning at Lido Beach, "it was pretty close, folks. That is really close to the shore line."

"The staff haven’t seen a shark this size in quite a long time, if ever, and this is just out of an abundance of caution to the residents for their safety,” he continued.

The shark at Lido Beach was thought to be a bull shark. Generally, shark attacks are not common in the U.S., but reports of possible bull shark sighting near shores where beachgoers swim, is still well, terrifying. Bull sharks don’t keep to their business and they’re potentially dangerous to humans, according to Long Beach Chief of Lifeguards Paul Gillespie.

"They will attack you, they don't let anything get in their way," Gillespie told WCBC 880. "With thresher sharks, basically they'll eat because they're hungry, but the bull sharks will attack you."

He added that bull sharks can be up to 14 feet long and that more sharks are expected to be coming to the Long Island area as the water is now warming up (the waters have already reached 80 degrees).

On Wednesday, Nassau County Police helicopters and a county marine boat patrols were scanning the waters off the shorelines looking for more sharks. 

“Our enhanced helicopter patrols along the coast will keep an eye on anything lurking in the water,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a Wednesday morning news conference.


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