New York shark attacks: two children bitten in first case in 70...

New York shark attacks: two children bitten in first case in 70 years

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Two children swimming in surf miles apart along New York state’s Fire Island national seashore have suffered puncture wounds to their legs in what are thought to be the first shark attacks in 70 years, authorities said.

The 12-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy were discharged after emergency medical treatment, each with a bandaged right leg. Both were expected to fully recover.

What appeared to be a shark’s tooth was extracted from the boy’s leg and was be analyzed to determine the species he encountered while boogie-boarding at Atlantique Beach in the town of Islip, 5o miles (80km) east of Manhattan, officials said.

The girl, Lola Pollina, said she was standing in waist-deep water at Sailors Haven beach in nearby Brookhaven, two miles east of Islip, when she was bitten.

“I saw something, like, next to me, and I kind of felt pain, and looked and I saw a fin,” she said, recounting how she realised her leg was “all bloody”. She said the shark she saw appeared to be about three or four feet long (90-120cm).

Lola Pollina was bitten in what is thought to be the first shark attacks on people in New York in 70 years.



Lola Pollina was bitten in what is thought to be the first shark attacks on people in New York in 70 years. Photograph: Philip Pollina/AP

Shark attacks on people are extremely rare in waters off Fire Island or anywhere else in the state, according to Ian Levine, chief of the Ocean Beach Fire Department, whose paramedics treated the boy.

Only about 10 cases of shark bites on people have ever been documented in New York state, the last one in 1948, Levine said, citing information he said was given by Islip town supervisors.

Neither incident on Wednesday has been officially confirmed as a shark attack, but Levine added: “The tooth we pulled out of the kid’s leg looks like a shark’s tooth.”

Fire Island beaches were closed until further notice, said national parks spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers.

The tooth specimen was being studied by the state’s environment department, which would report its findings to the Suffolk county marine bureau, Rogers said.

Bite marks on the girl also were “consistent with a large fish”, she said.

Separately, a tiger shark seven feet long (2.2 metres) was caught by a fisherman at Kismet, another beach town two miles west of Islip, Levine said. He doubted either of Wednesday’s attacks was by a shark that large.



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