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Coney Island Beach Closed For Several Hours To Swimmers After Reported Shark Sighting

Video credit: Instagram/theinvisibledog

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City Parks Department officials closed the beach for several hours to swimmers after reports of a shark in the waters off of Coney Island beach in Brooklyn.

CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported hundreds were ordered out of the ocean Tuesday morning directly in front of Luna Park when fins surfaced just off shore. Witnesses screamed they thought they saw three of four small sharks.

"They were like, 'Everybody out, everybody out,'" one witness said.

Another said, "They were whistling. They said, 'Stay out of the water because we have to keep you safe.'"

An Instagram video captured by a bystander shows a fin sticking out of the ocean. It is unclear if the fin in the video belongs to a shark.

The order from the Parks Department  out of what it called an abundance of caution while the NYPD searched the waters from above.

Swimmers were given the all clear after three hours, but not everyone was eager to jump back in.

"I didn't go as deep, know my limits. I stay close," one swimmer said.

Another said, "They literally came to us and said you can go back in, but how do we know the sharks are gone? How do we know that?"

Marine experts said the sharks that were spotted were probably harmless basking sharks that don't even have real teeth. It's feeding season and youngsters were likely close to shore looking for food.

Shark sightings are not uncommon this time of year. Marine experts said New York City hasn't had a shark attack in recent memory.

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