SHIRLEY, N.Y. — A shark attack temporarily shut down a Long Island beach, again.
Officials say a surfer suffered a bite several inches long from a 4-foot shark in the waters off Smith Point on Wednesday morning.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan has more on what experts say is causing an increase in shark sightings.
A 41-year-old surfer paddling with his arms to get momentum to stand said he felt teeth on his leg, identified a sand tiger shark swarming, and took a punch at it.
“He was knocked off his board and then he saw this shark coming back around towards him and at that moment felt very fortunate that a wave came in and helped push him towards the shore,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Andrew Kalos said he was just arriving to swim and saw the aftermath.
“He was by the booth getting medical treatment. It looked like just a small bite on his leg, I think a couple of inches,” Kalos said.
“He was able to come out of the water on his own. He was assisted out. The ambulance at the time brought him to the hospital,” chief lifeguard Kevin Kolar said.
Although the beach had not yet opened for the day, teamwork helped in the rescue.
“He was transported to Long Island Community Hospital in a non-critical status,” said Michael Neuhaus of Shirley Community Ambulance.
Non-critical is important to note because experts say sharks are curious, and are not looking to eat humans, adding sightings are up due to cleaner water, bait fish closer to shore, and global warming.
This is the latest in a string of shark-related incidents on Long Island’s South Shore —a a sighting in Point Lookout, and .
“It’s always a concern. I have a big staff here. I have to protect my staff just as much as the public,” Kolar said.
“It’s a lot. We had one the other week and now again. We are just doing our best to keep everybody safe,” Smith Point Beach lifeguard Sam Verdone said.
Drones were up Wednesday. Wave Runners were in the water. Lifeguards were on the shoreline and with paddleboards. Rescue boats and medics were standing by.
“The ‘Stop the Bleed’ program is very important. It’s a program that is designed to teach lay people, non responders, how to handle bleeding control in a controlled situation,” said Edward Lennon of Shirley Community Ambulance.
But most swimmers agree.
“I’m going to keep coming to the beach and go in the water anyway,” Kalos said.
Beaches eventually resumed swimming Wednesday with normal lifeguard staffing hours.