50 sharks were spotted swimming off Robert Moses Beach in Long Island, New York, causing park staff to temporarily close it, according to The Daily Caller. Sand sharks were reportedly spotted using surveillance drones early morning on Tuesday after a teenage girl was bitten on her leg and a teenage male surfer was bitten on the ankle.
The latter incident was the first confirmed shark attack of the 2023 season. The 15-year-old boy quickly swam to the shore where he was treated by another beach goer and they waited until marine bureau officers arrived. The teenage girl was treated for a small puncture wound but no sharks could be spotted following her injury.
Speaking to The New York Post, Long Island Parks Regional Director George Gorman said that an estimated 50 sharks were spotted Tuesday. He said that the sand tiger sharks were being monitored before staff determined that the beach was once again safe to reopen. While sand sharks look intimidating, they are reportedly docile creatures and only bite humans if they mistake their feet or hands for bait fish. No fatality has occurred from sand sharks, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
A day after the sharks were spotted, two additional attacks occurred. A middle-aged man was reportedly bitten on his knee while swimming in Quogue Village Beach. Another man had bite wounds on his right hand while swimming in Fire Island Pines.
Eight shark attacks were reported last year, which is a high number, according to officials. The high number prompted New York Governor Kathy Hochul to increase surveillance from eight to eighteen drones. Gorman added that the drones have already been put to work and that lifeguards and staff were being certified to operate them.
When asked if they are expecting another year of greater shark activity, Gorman said that he hopes that is not the case.