Long Island

Swimming Banned at 2 Beaches After Shark Sightings, Chomped-On Skate Washes Ashore

The shark was between eight and 10 feet long, according to town officials

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Two Long Island beaches have ordered swimmers out of the water on the hottest day of the year after a pair of shark sightings.

Red flags were put up at Lido West Beach and the adjacent Nickerson Beach in Hempstead Monday amid reports that a large bull shark was swimming in the waters off the coast.

The first sighting was reported around 10 a.m. at Lido West Beach. Lifeguard Logan Fitzgerald said he was paddling on a surfboard when he saw the maneater -- thought to be between eight and 10 feet long -- come out of the water.

"It came out of the water, spun around," he said. "Just didn't look like a dolphin. Definitely a shark."

Fitzgerald said after seeing the shark, he was nervous and got surfers around of him onto the shore. Swimmers were later allowed back in, but only to waist-level.

"I was like, 'Did (the lifeguards) just say shark?'" said Martine Pierre of Elmont. "That changed the game. I thought it was just strong water."

Town officials say the bull shark was the largest spotted in the area in at least four years. It hasn't been blamed for any attacks on humans, but they say it may have taken two large chunks out of a sea skate that washed ashore.

The second sighting was reported around 3 p.m. It's not clear if it was the same shark.

Swimmers from Atlantic Beach to the west and Jones Beach to the east were warned about the sharks.

Hempstead police and the bay constables are now searching for the shark.

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