A lifeguard on Jones Beach was “potentially bitten” by a shark Monday, local authorities said, in what would be the first documented shark attack on Long Island. in three years.
The incident, which occurred around 11 a.m., left the guard with a one-inch wound to his left leg.
“A lifeguard reported that they may have been bitten by a shark,” George Gorman, regional director of the State Parks Department, told Gothamist. “They saw a fin in the water.”
The beach was closed for swimming for three hours while the State Police inspected the waters with a drone. The beach reopened at 2 p.m. after the search came back empty.
Several lifeguards said they were shocked by the reports and surprised that the waters reopened.
“Some guards were surfing. He pushed the water and felt something grab him and pull him out,” said one guard, who declined to share his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press. and he looked down and there was a shark bite on his leg. “
“There are always sharks out there. When we close for sightings it is redundant,” added the guard. “The fact that he was bitten is unreal.”
But as word spread on the beach of the possible attack, many swimmers said they were hesitant to return to the ocean.
“It scared me a bit,” said Jeancarlos Cruz, a 31-year-old warehouse worker who came to the beach on his day off. “Sharks in the water, you never know if they will come back or if they will bite someone.”
The attack comes amid a series of shark sightings in recent days. One was seen off Nickerson Beach on Wednesday and two sand sharks, between four and five feet long, were spotted off Field 6 at Jones Beach on Thursday.
Gorman said the sharks were likely following schools of bait fish that have been swimming closer to shore, possibly as a result of cleaner waters. “We are not sure if there is anything unusual.”
If confirmed, it would be the first documented shark attack on Long Island since two boys were bitten in 2018.
An investigation into the nature of the bite continues, Gorman said.