Suffolk County officials temporarily closed beaches at Smith Point County Park and neighboring Cupsogue Beach County Park for swimming Sunday after a shark bitten a lifeguard — the second shark incident. two attacks off Long Island in three days.
Beaches are expected to reopen early Monday, where large crowds are expected for the July 4 holiday.
“Our expectation is that tomorrow morning on July 4th, the beach will be back up and running,” Bellone said Sunday during a press conference at Smith Point.
Lifeguard, Zack Gallo, was taking part in a training exercise off Smith Point Beach in Shirley around 10:15 a.m. Sunday when the 4- to 5-foot shark bit him in the chest, said Steve Bellone, Superintendent Suffolk County executive said.
Gallo, a 10-year veteran lifeguard, was playing the victim in a lifesaving exercise when he was attacked by a shark, Bellone said. The shark also bit at Gallo’s right hand as he tried to fend it off. Gallo was able to come ashore with the support of other lifeguards who also took part in the training, Bellone said.
Lifeguards were taken to South Shore University Hospital for stitches and treatment.
“Fortunately, he’s doing well,” Bellone said.
Shark attacks off the coast of Long Island are rare, officials said. Bellone said a shark was spotted near Smith Point beach shortly after the attack, though it’s unclear if it was the same shark that attacked lifeguards.
Beaches will be closed for swimming for the rest of Sunday and will reopen at 10 a.m. on Monday, and Bellone said people looking to celebrate the July 4 holiday at the beaches should not too worried about the attack on Sunday. Lifeguards in Suffolk will use jet skis, paddleboards and drones to patrol for sharks, in addition to monitoring from the shore.
“People should feel very comfortable and feel very safe coming to our beaches,” says Bellone.
On Thursday, a 37-year-old man was swimming at 1 p.m. off Jones Beach at 1 p.m. when a shark bit his right foot, possibly from a shark, Nassau police said today. Friday. Authorities said nurses from the police department’s Emergency Department responded and determined the injury could have been caused by a shark bite.
The man, who has not been identified, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was treated for his injuries, according to Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County CEO. An update on Sunday on his condition was not immediately available.