Sharks have taken center stage as numerous encounters and sightings have been reported this week across various coastal regions. Five incidents involving sharks or suspected sharks took place on Monday and Tuesday near New York, according to officials. Fortunately, all the victims survived.
On Monday evening, a 15-year-old boy who was surfing at Fire Island, New York, was bitten on the heel and toes by a shark, as confirmed by Suffolk County police. Although the boy was hospitalized, his injuries were determined to be non-life-threatening, with his heel and toes remaining intact.
In another incident on the same day, a 15-year-old girl suffered puncture wounds from an unidentified source while in the water near Robert Moses State Park in Babylon, New York, according to the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The girl received treatment at the scene from paramedics, prompting authorities to deploy drones for surveillance at Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks.
The drones captured images of multiple sharks in the waters off Long Island around 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Officials believe these sharks were likely sand tiger sharks, known to exceed 10 feet in length.
On Tuesday afternoon, a 47-year-old man was bitten on his right knee while wading in the waters off Quogue, a village on Long Island. The man was unable to identify the creature responsible for the bite, but Quogue police stated that it came from a larger marine animal. The injured beachgoer was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and authorities advised visitors to refrain from entering the water.
Shortly after this incident, a man swimming near Fire Island Pines on Fire Island was bitten on his right hand by a shark, according to Suffolk County police. The 49-year-old man received medical attention for his non-life-threatening injuries.
Later, at Sailors Haven beach on Fire Island, a woman approximately 50 years old suffered a bite, as reported by Nick Clemons of Fire Island National Seashore. National Park Service lifeguards responded, and the woman was taken to a hospital to treat a minor injury, as stated by Clemons.
Shark sightings have also been reported in Florida. One video recorded on Monday showed a shark circling in shallow, warm waters off Navarre Beach, causing many waders to hastily retreat. Another video depicted a hammerhead shark gliding near a stand-up paddleboard rider off Surfside, a town on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Experts recommend taking precautions to reduce the risk of shark encounters, such as avoiding bright clothing or shiny jewelry. In case of spotting a shark, it is advised to remain calm and maintain a quiet position. According to the Florida Museum, most sharks are merely curious and will leave on their own. However, if a shark approaches closer, it is recommended to retreat and, if necessary, fight by hitting the shark’s nose.
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Earlier this year, the shark attack file reported a record number of eight unprovoked attacks in New York in 2022, while the state had only recorded 12 such attacks since 1837. The report suggested that young sand tiger sharks are attracted to the Long Island and Fire Island areas due to the protective bays, and bites may occur as these sharks come closer to the shore in search of baitfish. However, worldwide, the number of unprovoked shark attacks decreased in 2022, matching the lowest reported incidents in the last 10 years, according to the file.