Shark Bites Another Fire Island Lifeguard, Officials Say

shark bite

A second lifeguard on Fire Island may have suffered a shark bite in four days on Thursday — the third apparent shark attack on Long Island in a week, officials said.

In the latest case, a lifeguard in the Village of Ocean Beach was conducting a training exercise in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the beach when he suffered the injury at about 11 a.m., according to Ian Levine, chief of the Ocean Beach Fire Department. The incident echoed one on Sunday a few miles east on Fire Island.

“He was bit in the ankle by a shark,” said Levine, whose members took the victim to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment of no life threatening injuries. “They believe it was a 3- to-5-foot tiger sand shark.”

In the previous incident, a shark bit a Smith Point County Park lifeguard on Sunday morning, prompting Suffolk County officials to temporarily halt swimming at that eastern Fire Island beach and neighboring Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach. That incident also came during a training session. Swimming was halted in Ocean Beach as well.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told reporters Sunday that shark bites are rare on Long Island. But shark-related incidents have been on the rise.

The Smith Point incident came three days after a 37-year-old man suffered a possible shark bite to the foot while swimming at Jones Beach State Park on Thursday, June 30. Agencies across Long Island have been stepping up shark patrols as beach season kicks into high gear following the Independence Day weekend and in the wake of an increasing number of shark sightings in recent years.

At least one child was bitten by a shark in the surf off Fire Island in 2018 and a Jones Beach State Park lifeguard said he was bitten by a shark in summer 2021. The Fire Island shark bite was the first on LI since 1948, one of seven in New York State since 1670, none of them fatal.

Related Story: Advocate Who Called for Shark Alert System 10 Years Ago Relieved Plan Finally Enacted

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