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Sixth Long Island Shark Bite in 3 Weeks Reported on Fire Island

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“Swimming Prohibited” signs were posted at Smith Point County Beach on July 13 after a shark-related incident, Suffolk County officials said.
Photo by Julia Rocca Virnelli

A shark bit a teenage surfer Wednesday in the water off Kismet, the westernmost community on Fire Island — bringing the number of shark attacks on Long Island to six in three weeks.

The 16-year-old boy was paddling approximately 20 yards off of Kismet Beach when he was bit on his right foot at 5:45 p.m., Suffolk County police said. The surfer suffered an about 4-inch laceration, walked out of the water and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Suffolk County police Marine Bureau officers responded by boat and the department’s aviation unit responded by helicopter, but the water was too murky to locate the shark, police said. No lifeguards were on duty at the time.

The incident comes a week after two people were bitten by a shark the same day on Fire Island. The first of the two incidents on July 13 came when a surfer was bit off Smith Point County Park on the east end of the barrier beach and an Arizona man was bit later that evening in the water off Seaview, which is also in the Fire Island National Seashore’s western communities. Those incidents were also when no lifeguard was on duty.

A week prior, a shark bit a lifeguard on July 7 in the Village of Ocean Beach, which neighbors Seaview, days after a shark bit another lifeguard off Smith Point on July 3. Both lifeguards were participating in training exercises at the time. The first in the string of incidents was a possible shark bit reported off Jones Beach on June 30, Nassau County police said.

The most recent shark bit came on the same day that a juvenile great white shark washed up dead in Quogue in the Hamptons, village police there said. 

Agencies across Long Island had already been stepping up shark patrols amid peak beach season 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.

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