A lifeguard acting as a victim during a training exercise is bitten by a shark off Shirley Beach
A lifeguard taking part in a safety drill at Smith Point beach was bitten by a shark on Sunday morning, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
According to Bellone, the lifeguard was acting as a victim in the water during a counter-current exercise when he became a real victim.
He said Zack Gallo was bitten in the chest and injured in the hand. He was able to get out of the water after calling for help.
Gallo was then bandaged and taken to Southside Hospital for treatment. He has been a lifeguard for 10 years and is doing well, Bellone said.
“It was probably the best scenario you could have,” Bellone said, commenting on the attack during a training drill.
The victim reportedly said the shark was 4 or 5 feet long.
Rescuers even spotted what could have been a second shark in the water as well.
In response to what happened to Gallo and the sighting of a possible second shark, swimming was halted and Smith Point and nearby Cupsogue Beach were closed for the day.
The shark attack off Shirley Beach came on the heels of that at Jones Beach on Thursday where a man may have been bitten by a shark.
Nassau police stepped up patrols in the area on Friday to make sure swimmers were safe.
Recently along the East Coast there have been more shark sightings, including one of a possible great white shark seen from the sky off Cape Cod.
Shark experts say warmer water temperatures attract more marine life.
“It brings in a lot of bait fish, a lot of migrating fish, and it brings in a lot of apex predators – sharks,” explained Noel Heinsohn of the Long Island Aquarium.
To stay safe while swimming, experts advise staying away from anglers who might attract sharks, avoiding swimming near large schools of fish churning shallow waters, and always swimming near lifeguards. and follow their instructions.
“We’re entering their home, we’re entering their territories, so there’s always the possibility that a shark, bluefish, or many different types of animals could potentially come into contact and create an incident,” Heinsohn warns.
Bellone said drones and ships will monitor the waters off Suffolk beaches on July 4, when crowds are expected to swarm the beaches.
“We have never had an incident like this before. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again,” Bellone added.
Bellone expects Smith Point and nearby beaches to be open July 4 after a thorough morning water check.