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17-year-old lifeguard bitten by shark during training off Ocean Beach on Fire Island

17-year-old lifeguard bitten by shark during training on Fire Island
17-year-old lifeguard bitten by shark during training on Fire Island 02:22

OCEAN BEACH, N.Y. -- A Long Island lifeguard is recovering after being bitten by a shark. 

It happened near Ocean Beach on Fire Island.

First-year lifeguard John Mullins is donning a few new battle scars. The 17-year-old was in the middle of lifeguard training Thursday morning when he felt something strange.

"The teeth were, like, inside my skin, and when I pulled my foot out, it kind of just felt like a scrape, like a rake going up my foot," Mullins told CBS2's Alecia Reid.

The rising senior soon found out he'd been bitten by a shark. While training, he had the task of playing the victim, treading water while waiting for fellow lifeguards to "rescue" him, not knowing how close he was to real danger.

"We never expect to be attacked while we're training, but they handled it well," Mullins said.

Mullins says he was about 150 yards from shore when the attack occurred.

An avid swimmer who's spent time in the ocean his entire life, the teen now has five stitches and a limp. He'll be out of work until he can start getting his feet wet again.

"The first time going back out to be the victim is definitely going to be scary, but I should be OK," Mullins said.

Mullins says his stitches will be removed in about 10 days. Because he's still limping, he may need a little extra time before he returns to lifeguard duty, but he says one thing is for sure -- he will definitely be back.

This follows another sighting Wednesday by Davis Park and an attack on another lifeguard last Saturday at Smith Point Beach. 

For safety reasons, beachgoers brave enough to enter the water are only allowed to go a certain distance, and to alert visitors of the potential danger, all Fire Island beaches will display red flags near beach signs and purple flags in lifeguard areas.

Watch Elijah Westbrook's report

Lifeguard bitten by shark off Fire Island 02:10

CBS2's Elijah Westbrook caught up with people as they waited for the 9 a.m. ferry bound for Fire Island. With another pleasant weekend ahead, beachgoers like Nick Fortugno are headed to the island in hopes of a good time.

"Maybe I'll have some friends come down and hang out," Fortugno told Westbrook. 

He said he's being cautious after multiple shark sightings and attacks this month. At least three reported incidents have occurred since the start of July. 

"Just be safe, don't take any chances that you don't want to take, and enjoy the summer," he said.

It happened just days after a lifeguard at Smith Point Beach was bitten by a shark while conducting a training exercise with fellow lifeguards. 

"I hit the shark three times, I went boom boom boom. I guess in the third one, it spun back and it's tail hit me in the chest," Zachari Gallo told CBS2's Thalia Perez.

After hearing stories like that, beachgoers say they understand why the precautions are being put in place and know safety is number one. 

"I don't think anybody would be happy to see a shark, right?" one man said. 

The commissioner of parks for Suffolk County says officials are keeping a vigilant eye on the water from above with state-of-the-art equipment, including drones

"We have them out there with different tools, including Jet Skis, kayaks, surf boards, paddle boards and binoculars on land," Commissioner Jason Smagin said. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says lifeguards are constantly on the lookout for sharks.

"We are having our lifeguards out on paddle boards, we have deployed and will continue where necessary drone technology, and we also have a Jet Ski that we utilize," he said.

Officials say shark sighting are increasing due to warmer waters, which have sent them north earlier than usual. 

Your chances of being attacked and killed by a shark in the United States is one in 3.7 million, according to National Geographic. 

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