In an unexpected twist at Rockaway Beach in New York, a 50-year-old woman faced a gruesome shark encounter Monday evening. Authorities have reported that the incident occurred near Beach 59th Street just before 6 p.m., marking this as the first known shark bite at this particular beach in recent times.
Quick to act, lifeguards raced towards the distressed swimmer. They successfully pulled her out and promptly administered first aid. Eyewitnesses described the scene as harrowing, as her leg bled heavily. The rescuers, realizing the severity of the situation, applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding. Officials later confirmed her critical condition as she was rushed to Jamaica Hospital.
Ensuring public safety, other beach-goers were immediately instructed to vacate the waters. While the NYPD conducted a comprehensive aerial search for the suspected shark, their efforts yielded no sightings.
Reiterating the rarity of such incidents, the city Parks Department voiced their concern and support. “We hope for a full recovery for this swimmer,” they mentioned in their official statement. They also assured the public, “Though this was a frightening event, we want to remind New Yorkers that shark bites in Rockaway are extremely rare. We remain vigilant in monitoring the beach and always clear the water when a shark is spotted.”
In the aftermath of this unsettling event, the NYPD's Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) took to the skies, deploying drones to surveil the area. The same surveillance measures are expected to continue with both the NYPD and the FDNY involved.
With public safety as a priority, officials announced a delayed opening for Rockaway Beach until 11 a.m. the following day. This, however, remains subject to change based on the prevailing conditions.
It's worth noting that the waters of Queens and Long Island have seen a spike in shark sightings lately. Recalling a past incident, Brooklyn resident Chip Newell recounted a shark sighting at Rockaway Beach in June.
He vividly described, “The shark was probably 50 yards out… It was a brown fin. Definitely wasn't a dolphin… It was pretty crazy.”
This recent spike in sightings even led to the closure of Rockaway Beach during a heatwave in July 2022. While shark attacks remain rare, multiple attacks have been reported this summer on Long Island, hinting at a pattern that demands vigilance and precaution.
Residents and tourists are advised to heed official warnings and stay informed about the latest advisories before diving into the waves.
Photos courtesy of Peter Gerber / NY Post
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