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Suffolk County lifeguard talks to CBS2 about being attacked by a shark at Smith Point Beach

Lifeguard attacked by shark in Suffolk County speaks exclusively to CBS2
Lifeguard attacked by shark in Suffolk County speaks exclusively to CBS2 02:02

SHIRLEY, N.Y. -- A lifeguard is recovering at home following a shark attack in the waters off Suffolk County on Sunday.

It happened at Smith Point Beach, where CBS2's Thalia Perez says officials have temporarily shut the beach down.

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It was a typical beautiful morning on the beach. Zachari Gallo says at around 10:15 a.m. he was participating in a training exercise with fellow lifeguards and was attacked by a shark.

"I felt sharp, sharp pain and I knew it was some kind of ... once I felt the rubbery texture, I knew it was some kind of shark," Gallo said.

Gallo shared photos with CBS2 and said he was bit on the hand and chest. Even with those injuries, he said he wrestled with the shark.

"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," Gallo said.

Gallo said he was treated and released from Southside Hospital, receiving stitches in his chest. Immediately following the attack, the beach was shut down to swimmers, but despite the warnings some still swam at their own risk.

"It makes me a little nervous when they're all the way in the water," Lake Ronkonkoma resident Julian Alfonso said of his children. "I mean, if they're right there but if they're all the way in, that's a little nerve wracking."

Meanwhile, Gallo said he's grateful to be home recovering with his wife and 4-month-old, who happened to be dressed Sunday in a Baby Shark outfit. He offered everyone some solid advice.

"The most important thing is to respect the ocean, respect that there are creatures out there, and always swim by a lifeguard because you know they will be there to help if there's a situation," Gallo said.

He said he plans to return to work as soon as he can, while officials said they will continue to monitor for any shark sightings.

Both Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches are expected to re-open to swimmers on Monday.

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