Beachgoers Beware: Shark Attacks Have Been Spiking in this Major US City

Five recent shark attacks have taken place along the south shore of Long Island, leading officials to urge caution when going in the water. The most recent victim, who was attacked Wednesday at about 6 p.m., was a 49-year-old man from Arizona who was standing in waist-deep water off of Fire Island’s Seaview Beach, Suffolk County police said, according to the New York Post. The “shark came up from behind and bit him on the left wrist and buttocks,” police said in a statement. Earlier that day, Shawn Donnelly, 41, of Mastic Beach was attacked at 7:30 a.m. near Smith Point County Park. “The shark ambushed me,” Donnelly said, according to the New York Post. “I have never been more scared in my entire life … I screamed and flailed.” “It came up from the sandbar like a torpedo,” he said. “There was no fish jumping out of the water, no water moving, just quiet then ’bang.’ Next thing I knew the shark knocked me off my board.” “I was horrified,” he said. “I just slapped the shark once. I hit it, then instantly turned and paddled for the beach. When I got back on my board it was under me, so close.” “I … paddled like hell. After a couple of strokes, a wave broke behind me and pushed me to shore,” he said.  “I thought, ‘I can’t believe what just happened.’” Three other attacks have also taken place on south shore beaches since June 30. Smith Point has been the site of two attacks. “To have two of these incidents happen for us, for this facility, for this beach is unprecedented,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, according to the New York Post. “We’ve not seen this before.” He said the danger of sharks is a “new normal” because sharks are now closer to shore. Beaches are now festooned with signs reading “Warning – Dangerous Marine Life.” Smith Point was closed for a few hours, which Bellone said was a first since the beach opened in 1959. One beach-goer told WNBC-TV that the subject of a shark attack was something to worry about. “How could you not?’ she said. The 2021 worldwide shark attack report from the International Shark Attack File lists 137 attacks, including 72 unprovoked bites. July is a time when New England waters see an increase in great white sharks, according to the Daily Mail. “Just know that large sharks are here,”  Megan Winton, a scientist with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, said. Greg Skomal, a marine biologist who has been studying the region’s great whites for decades, said great white sharks are most often found on the ocean-facing side of Cape Cod. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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