A lifeguard was bitten by a shark off of Ocean Beach on Fire Island on Thursday morning according to village officials and local news reports — the third reported attack in just over a week.
The attack happened at 11 a.m. during a training exercise, officials said. The lifeguard was swimming around 150 yards off of the beach when a shark bit his foot, Newsday reported.
John Mullins, 17, described his harrowing escape during an interview with News 12 Long Island.
"I was like 'Oh my God, I've got to go.' It was crazy," Mullins said. "I thought it was following me, so I was freaking out"
Authorities halted swimming temporarily after the Thursday attack. Ocean Beach Mayor James Mallott didn’t return a request for further comment immediately.
Over the weekend a shark attacked another lifeguard during a training session off of Smith Point Beach on Fire Island, about 20 miles east of Ocean Beach. That came a few days after a June 30th incident, where a 57-year-old who was swimming off Jones Beach was injured in what Nassau County Police described as a “possible shark bite.”
Some climate scientists attribute more frequent shark sightings off of New York shores to warmer ocean temperatures. Other researchers emphasize that the risk to swimmers is exceedingly low, and more shark sightings may be attributed to better surveillance techniques. Some parts of Long Island have started deploying drones to monitor the waters.
Despite the recent incidents, unprovoked shark attacks are still extremely rare. Last year, researchers confirmed 47 unprovoked shark attacks nationwide. Most of those attacks occurred in Florida, and surfers were often the victims.
Researchers recommend swimming in groups and not during dawn and dusk when sharks are more likely to be feeding. They suggest not wearing shiny jewelry as sharks can mistake it for fish scales, staying near the shore and avoiding excess splashing. Blood from an open wound or even menstruation may entice the powerful nostrils of a shark, as can urine or other bodily fluids.