Long Beach lifeguards on alert after Fire Island swimmers are bitten


Long Beach lifeguards are keeping a watchful eye on the water after two swimmers on Fire Island suffered bites that are thought to be from sharks.

According to ABC, a 12-year-old girl was wading in the water at Sailors Haven beach on Fire Island when she was bitten shortly before noon on Wednesday. Soon after, a 13-year-old boy was bitten while boogie boarding in the waters at Atlantique Beach on Fire Island.

Islip Town beaches and Fire Island National Seashore beaches were closed for the day after the attacks, according to ABC. Additionally, swimmers were pulled from the water at Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks after a lifeguard spotted a shark.

“Everything’s good here,” said Long Beach Chief of Lifeguards Paul Gillespie. “We’re always on the watch.”

Long Beach doesn’t usually have problems with sharks, he said, because they most often swim farther east.

“It’s the Atlantic Ocean — it’s not a little lake or pond, so you’ve got all kinds of fish out there,” Gillespie said, adding that dead sharks, whales and other marine life occasionally wash up on the shore.

“It’s not something we take lightly, believe me,” he said. “The [lifeguards] know what to do. There is protocol if they do spot one — we will pull people out of the water.”

There has not been a shark sighting in Long Beach waters for years, Gillespie said.

He explained that the fire and police departments would immediately be notified in case of an emergency, and that EMTs are on standby.