A paddle board surfer was bitten by a shark on a Long Island beach on Wednesday, marking the fourth incident on the shores of New York in the past month, authorities said.
Officials in Suffolk County temporarily closed Smith Point County Beach after the 7:30 a.m. EDT attack, the Long Island Press reported. The surfer, who was only identified as a 41-year-old man, suffered a 4-inch gash to his leg, according to WNBC-TV.
At a news conference, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said a 4-foot tiger shark attacked the surfer.
The incident comes after sharks bit two other people on the south shore of Long Island in 10 days, the Press reported.
“To have two of these incidents happen for this facility, this beach, is unprecedented,” Bellone told reporters. “We haven’t seen Smith Point County Park close to swimming since it opened in 1959. More frequent contact with these sharks may be what we come to expect.”
The first attack came on June 30, when a 37-year-old swimmer was bitten on his right foot near Jones Beach, according to ABC News.
On July 3, Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches were closed after lifeguard Zach Gallo, who was playing the role of a swimmer in distress, was bitten, according to WABC-TV.
On July 7, another lifeguard was bitten by a shark off Ocean Beach on Fire Island, ABC News reported.
“These shark attacks are getting annoying,” beachgoer Kelli Donovan told the Press.
“This is the first time we can’t swim because of a shark attack,” another beachgoer, Julie Jacobs, told the newspaper.
The increase in shark sightings is due to the quality of water improving off the coast of Long Island, one expert said.
“It means our waters are healthy and clean,” Stony Brook University Marine Sciences Center manager Chris Paparo told WCBS-TV.
At least one child was bitten by a shark in the surf off Fire Island in 2018, and a Jones Beach lifeguard said he was bitten by a shark during the summer of 2021, the Press reported. The Fire Island shark bite was the first on Long Island since 1948 and one of seven in New York State since 1670, according to the newspaper.
None of the attacks were fatal.