‘Only Go Waist Deep’: Officials Sound Alarm After Several People Get Attacked By Sharks

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Several recent shark attacks off New York’s Long Island over the past two weeks led officials to warn beachgoers of the potential risk of swimming past shallow waters.

The Ocean Beach Fire Department warned Long Island swimmers to be alert while in water deeper than their waist, reported CNN.

The fire department’s chief, Ian Levine, told the outlet Thursday that it is wise to take extra precautions for ocean safety after several people have reported being attacked by sharks off Long Island beaches since July 3.

“We are telling people that if they are swimming, they need to swim in lifeguard areas. They should only go waist deep and that they should be aware of their surroundings,” Levine told CNN. (RELATED: 3 People Shot At ‘Celebrity’ Pool Party In Swanky Hotel Mansion)

A popular Long Island coastline, Smith Point County Park beach, was closed Wednesday after two people were bitten by a shark only hours apart, according to the Long Island Press.

A local paddleboarder was bitten by a shark off of Smith Point Beach just 11 hours before a shark bit a 49-year-old Arizona man off Seaview Beach, the Long Island Press reported.

Levine told CNN the Arizona man felt the shark rubbing against him and his hand was bitten as he was trying to get away.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at a press conference that “more frequent contact with these sharks may be what we come to expect,” reported the Long Island Press.

“I think it is an indication, however, that what we’re looking at is something of a new normal in that the sharks are – these Tiger sharks are just a little bit closer to shore than they’ve been,” Bellone said, reported CNN. “They’ve always been out there, of course, you’re interacting with marine life whenever you are out in the ocean, but they’re closer to shore now. And those contacts – those interactions with humans and shark may increase.”

There have been five shark attacks since July 3, reported the Long Island Press.