Shark Sighting Prompts Swimming Ban On Long Island

Sophia Hall
July 27, 2020 - 6:00 pm
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LONG BEACH, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — On one of the hottest days of the year, beachgoers were pulled out of the water following shark sightings off Long Island. 

A Town of Hempstead lifeguard was on a surfboard and first spotted what was believed to be a bull shark off of Lido Beach around 11 a.m. Monday. Officials believe there were at least two bull sharks in the water.

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WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported the sharks went past Long Beach and swam west. 

Town of Hempstead officials banned swimming at Civic Beach, Lido Beach, Lido West Beach, Town Park Point Lookout and Town Park at Sands.

The City of Long Beach was notified and also prohibited swimming at its beaches because of the sighting.

Beachgoers were allowed back in the water along the South Shore strip around 1 p.m., but both Town of Hempstead and Long Beach had to prohibit swimming yet again just two hours later following a second shark sighting.

Swimmers were permitted back into the water in Hempstead shortly before 5 p.m. However, Long Beach officials had not said whether the waters were safe by 6 p.m.

For most part of the day, swimming at Nassau County's Nickerson Beach was also off limits.

Long Beach's Chief of Lifeguards Paul Gillespie said bull sharks can be 14-feet long and are dangerous to humans.

"They will attack you, they don't let anything get in their way. With thresher sharks basically they'll eat because they're hungry. but the bull sharks will attack you," Gillespie said, adding that he went to a seminar two years ago where he learned more sharks would be coming to the Long Island area because the water is warming up.

No injuries were reported.

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