Just when it was warm enough to get back in the water, Fourth of July revelers at a popular Long Island beach in New York were told to get out again after a shark bit a lifeguard.
Zach Gallo was reportedly playing the role of victim during water training Sunday when a 4- to 5-foot shark bit him on the chest and right arm off Smith Point Beach, 70 miles east of Manhattan.
Gallo was able to get out of the water, was bandaged and taken to a local hospital, Suffolk County Chief Government Official Steve Bellone said.
“He’s in very good spirits at Southside Hospital … getting stitches,” Bellon said News day from Galo.
Officials subsequently closed Smith Point — along with another beach to the east — to swimmers “due to hazardous marine activity,” recalling the same decision that state officials failed to make in the movie “Jaws.”
Gallo’s attack was the second shark-related incident in three days on the Atlantic side of Long Island, disrupting beach activities. The 37-year-old swimmer at nearby Jones Beach was in the water Thursday when he “suffered a laceration to his right leg,” which officials reportedly described as possible shark bite.
Authorities said they would increase beach patrols, including a newly formed “shark patrol,” after a fisherman spotted a 10-foot mako shark 10 miles away.
Nassau County officials said shark attacks off Long Island are “very rare” but are increasing in frequency. Experts believe activity restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic may have limited the number of shark attacks in recent years, but they are increasing as people return to the beach.
Last year, there were 73 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide Report by ABC News.
Marine biologists also believe that Long Island waters may be breeding grounds for immature great whites given the abundance of bait. Some reports indicate that the warming water is also attracting hammerhead and bull sharks.
The increase in shark sightings has led to increased patrols using drones, jet skis, boats and helicopters.
Wildlife Conservation Society New York Aquarium scientist Hans Walters, said the New York Times this concern about sharks was “highly overblown.”
Sharks, he added, are not interested in swimmers. “If anyone’s been in the ocean, they’ve swam with sharks,” he said. “They just don’t know it.”
But that didn’t stop shark attacks from getting into the newspapers. On Friday, Florida authorities informed that a teenage girl lost one of her legs after being bitten by a shark while swimming on Thursday.
Addison Bethea was collecting sea scallops in waters 5 feet deep off Keaton Beach, about 75 miles southeast of Tallahassee, the state capital. The 9-foot-long shark suddenly began biting her, including on her right thigh.
“She tried to poke him in the eyes and punch him, but it wouldn’t come off,” until her brother fought off the animal, Bethea’s father wrote about his daughter’s suffering.
Last summer, fashion executive Julie Dimperio Golovac was swimming off the coast of Maine near a seal colony and was wearing a black wetsuit when she was pulled from the water big white. Golovach was killed.
New England shark expert James Sulikowski said Portland Press Herald it was possible that the shark took the victim for food in what may be “the first documented [shark-related] of Fatalities in Maine.”
In accordance with International Shark Attack Filecurated by the Florida Museum, there has been only one previous report of an unprovoked attack in Maine waters.
“In this area of Maine, and based on how close to shore the incident happened,” Sulikowski said, “my guess is that it was a great white shark.” We could easily be mistaken for a seal… like a shark’s lunch.’