A shiver of 50 sharks spotted off a Long Island, New York, beach caused park staff to momentarily close the beach early Tuesday.
Robert Moses Beach, where the sand sharks were spotted using surveillance drones at around 8 a.m. Tuesday, remained closed for swimming until about 9.30 a.m. when the beach was deemed clear, according to the New York Post. A teenage girl previously suffered a bite on her leg at around 1:45 p.m. Monday while swimming off Robert Moses Beach, and a teenage male surfer suffered similar small puncture wounds to his ankle and toes from a bite at Kismet Beach on Fire Island.
Both incidents were a few hours and about three miles apart from each other and marked the first recorded marine animal attacks in 2023, although only the surfer’s attack was confirmed to be a shark attack, the NY Post reported. (RELATED: ‘Right In Front Of My Eyes’: Bystanders Horrified As Tiger Shark Eats Man Alive)
Two more marine animal attacks followed 24 hours later, at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to the outlet. A 47-year-old man was bitten on his knee while in chest-deep water off Quogue Village Beach, while a 49-year-old man sustained bite wounds on his right hand off Fire Island Pines, NBC New York reported.
LONG ISLAND SHARK ATTACK | Two swimmers were apparently attacked by sharks off the shores of Long Island on Tuesday, a day after two others reported being attacked while enjoying the water at popular New York beaches. https://t.co/QnnoWZIJyY
— KITV4 (@KITV4) July 5, 2023
There were eight reported shark attacks on Long Island in 2022, an unusually high number, according to the NY Post. The spike prompted Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to announce “further action to protect beachgoers by increasing surveillance to monitor for shark activity near beaches off the South Shore,” according to a May 2023 statement. She “encourage[d] all New Yorkers to listen to local authorities, follow guidance and take precautions to ensure a safe and responsible beach trip this summer.” Enhanced surveillance measures by the New York State Parks included an increase in surveillance drones from eight to 18 and an increase in park staff membership and capacity, according to the statement.
Despite their “ferocious” appearance and rows of jagged teeth, sand tiger sharks are docile creatures and attack humans only in self-defense, according to National Geographic. No human fatality has been reported from sand shark attacks globally, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.