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Shark Sighted Off Jones Beach Day After Lifeguard Was Bitten

JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Another shark sighting on Long Island forced swimmers out of the water Tuesday.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reports, just after 11 a.m., several sharks were seen between Field 2 and the Central Mall, a few hundred yards offshore. Possibly as many as seven total were seen throughout the day.

They were identified as sand sharks and thresher sharks.

Red flags greeted visitors for most of the day after lifeguards had to suspend swimming, only allowing people in the water up to their ankles.

"We went into the water and we started to go deeper, and right away, you hear those whistles blowing and we're like, 'Why? What's wrong?' 'Oh, there might be a shark in the water,'" Pelham resident Karina Negron said.

"There's a lot of eyes on the water, so we've been seeing sharks on and off today," New York State Parks regional director George Gorman said.

Drones and helicopters were used to patrol the waters. Drone video taken by Jones Beach lifeguards shows a cobia fish chasing large schools of bluefish.

Parks officials say all those bluefish are attracting sharks closer to the shore.

"All the marine life that we're seeing normally is further offshore, but it's closer because those bluefish are feeding on bunker fish, which are close to shore," Gorman said.

So far, there's been no risk to the public, but the sightings come a day after a lifeguard was bitten in the water.

jones beach lifeguard possible shark bite deangelis
(credit: CBS2)

Officials have not confirmed it was a shark bite.

State Parks officials said a lifeguard was in the water around 11 a.m. Monday when he felt a bite on his left calf and then saw a fin. He was left with a gash about an inch long.

He is expected to be OK.

Swimming was suspended for about three hours.

There were shark sightings last week at Jones Beach and Nickerson Beach, following an unprecedented 20 sightings last year.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran sent a tweet saying police are "intensifying aerial and water patrols out of an abundance of caution," and urged people to stay calm.

According to Parks officials, some of the best ways to avoid sharks are:

  • Avoid areas where people are swimming.
  • Avoid swimming as dusk.
  • Swim in groups close to the shore.

The lifeguard was treated at the beach, then taken to a hospital to be checked out. We're told he's doing just fine.

The incident comes amid as cownose rays are also alarming swimmers in our area, with some confusing them for sharks.

Even after multiple shark sightings, beach-goers were disappointed to not be allowed in the water Tuesday.

"I was kind of bummed out, but I guess better safe than sorry," Negron said.

"Very disappointed. I mean, like, I don't know. I mean, the chances of me getting bit by a shark, I mean, I think they're slim. I mean, there was, like, a shark bite yesterday," Oyster Bay resident Seraina Caviezel said.

"I mean, I get it. I do love to swim. We were just hot," Glen Cove resident Addie Huvane said.

Officials are reminding swimmers to listen to lifeguard instructions, swim with a buddy and, of course, use common sense.

Around 4:30 p.m., swimmers were allowed to go into the water up to their waist.

Drones will continue to patrol for sharks. Because of all the shark activity, the state police have helicopters patrolling as well.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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