Swimming has either been banned or restricted at a number of Long Island beaches after a series of shark sightings have been reported over the last few days. As many as nine sharks have been spotted in the waters off Nassau County since Monday after the predatory creatures reported off the coast of Nickerson Beach, off Point Lookout, and off Tobay Beach in Oyster Bay on Wednesday.
Three more shark sightings were reported on Tuesday, including bull sharks spotted off Atlantic Beach and Point Lookout by lifeguards.
'Never Seen a Shark So Close to Shore'
"Yesterday at approximately 3:15 p.m., we witnessed a big shark breach the surface about five feet into the swimming area, directly off shore in front of the lifeguard chair," said East Atlantic Beach lifeguard Connor Byrne. "At that point, several of the patrons, most of the lifeguards could all identify the fin and tell that it was clearly a shark and was being aggressive. Once again, it was five feet directly offshore from the swimming area with people around."
"I've never seen a shark so close to shore before. Depth is probably only knee- to waist-deep, so it was definitely scary," he said, before adding that lifeguards responded immediately and asked people to get out of the water and the ocean base at the Town of Hempstead was alerted of the sighting.
Over the weekend, a twitter user shared a video clip of a 6-7-feet shark swimming dangerously close to the shore close to Hampton Bays in Long Island.
Largest Bull Shark in Years
On Monday, swimmers were asked to vacate the waters at Lido West and Nickerson beaches in Hempstead after a double shark sighting. There were reports of a large bull shark between 7 and 10 feet long, which officials say is the largest they've seen in at least four years. Bull sharks are considered to be the most dangerous sharks to humans because of their aggressive tendencies.
Authorities are trying to determine whether the same shark was responsible for a dead sea skate with enormous bite marks that washed ashore in Hempstead.
Last week, a 21-year-old college student, TJ Minutillo, caught a massive 400-pound, 8-foot bull shark near Nickerson Beach.
Helicopter and Ocean Patrols
The shark sightings have sparked authorities in Long Beach to conduct helicopter patrols along the beaches as well as marine ocean patrols to alert beachgoers and swimmers if there are any sharks in the water.
The recent string of shark sightings come as a New York City woman was killed in a rare great white shark attack off the coast of Maine earlier this week, as we previously reported. The woman, identified as 63-year-old Julie Dimperio Holowach, was swimming with her daughter when she was attacked. Authorities believe the shark may have mistaken her for a seal because of the wetsuit she was wearing.
According to Ocearch, a non-profit organization that collects data to help researchers and scientists learn more about sharks across the world, a ping from a tracker put on a 10-foot, 2-inch long great white shark, placed her off the coast of Atlantic City as of Tuesday morning.