Two children were bitten by what authorities suspect is a small shark or large fish while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Fire Island on Wednesday morning.
Suffolk County police confirmed that officers responded to reports of two people suffering bite wounds at Atlantique Beach and Sailor’s Haven, two beaches about four miles apart on the barrier island. Police said they were investigating what caused the bites.
Town of Islip officials said a 13-year-old boy was boogie boarding in Atlantique when he was wiped out on a wave, got out of the water and a lifeguard found he appeared to have a bite mark from small shark at around noon. Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) officials said a tooth was found “consistent with a large fish.” The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Marinue Bureau has not confirmed the incident as a shark bite, officials said.
“We figured it was a shark bite right away,” said Islip lifeguard Craig Amarando, who was among the first responders at Atlantique.
FINS said it closed the federal seashore’s beaches to swimming as a result. Islip closed the ocean beaches to swimming, too. Newsday reports Robert Moses State Park banned swimming as well.
Sailor’s Haven is operated by FINS, which reported that a 12-year-old girl was bitten shortly before noon.
“She was able to walk to shore with assistance from her caregiver,” FINS said in a statement. “There were bite marks on the victim consistent with a large fish. However, there was not a sighting of a shark in the area and the incident has not been confirmed as a shark bite.”
Both victims were treated at local hospitals for non-life threatening injuries.
“Both of these kids, thank God, are OK,” said Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “We’re seeing this as an opportunity to remind everyone, the water is beautiful…but the water can be treacherous. You need to be careful at all times.”
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