Shark bites surfer at same beach where lifeguard was bitten
SHIRLEY, N.Y. (AP) — A surfer says he was bitten by a shark at the same Long Island beach where a shark bit a lifeguard 10 days earlier.
Shawn Donnelly told Newsday that he was lying on his surfboard about 12 yards (11 meters) from shore at Smith Point County Park in Shirley on Wednesday when a shark bit his left calf.
Donnelly told the newspaper that the impact of the bite forced him off his board. He said he hopped back on and started punching at the animal’s snout. “Every thought in my head was, ‘Paddle into shore,’” he said.
Donnelly, a 41-year-old attorney, said a wave helped carry him to shore and he was treated for his injury at a local hospital. He said he has a 2-inch (5-centimeter) wound on his calf.
The shark encounter happened in the same stretch of water where a lifeguard was bitten by a shark during a training exercise on July 3, one of a series of recent shark incidents at Long Island beaches.
Shark sightings were relatively rare in the region until recently. Experts say cleaner oceans, warmer waters and a resurgence of the bunker fish that sharks feed on are among the reasons for the growing shark population.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone planned a news conference Thursday to announce that the lifeguard is returning to work after recovering from his injuries.