Two Children Were Bitten by Sharks at Fire Island

Jul 21, 2018

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On Wednesday, two different shark attacks occurred just 15 minutes and four miles apart on the beaches of Fire Island. One victim was a 13-year-old boy and the other was a 12-year-old girl. Both are expected to fully recover, but now an investigation has been opened on the occurrences.

The 13-year-old was boogie-boarding off of Atlantique beach when the shark bit him, while the girl was standing in the waters of Sailor’s Haven beach. Both suffered deep cuts into their flesh, and the boy even had to have a shark tooth recovered from his leg.

The young girl, Lola, described her experience to reporters as “a quick kind of pull” and handled the situation like a trooper. “The water was cold, so I didn’t really feel anything,” she recalled. “And then I saw something like next to me, and I kind of felt pain. And I looked and I saw, like, a fin, kind of. I don’t know how to describe it.”

Experts believe that both were juvenile sand or tiger sharks. It’s suspected that the sharks mistook the children for fish. The scenario lines up with the description that Senior Biologist in Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, George Burges, provides for an unprovoked, “hit-and-run” attack.

It’s important to keep in mind that any type of shark attack is rare. In fact, people are more likely to die from falling in a sand hole or from sun/heat exposure than from a shark attack, according to The International Shark Attack file. So, beach-goers might just be safer in the water.

However, there are ways to combat the unsettling possibility of being attacked by a shark. We spoke to Caitlyn Cohen, former marine biology lab technician to find out what to be wary of. First off, avoid wearing anything shiny, including jewelry, because they can be mistaken for “shiny fish scales.” Stay out of the water if you are bleeding and avoid swimming close to dawn or dusk, as those are feeding times for sharks. Beach-goers should also be sure to stay away from fishing areas, as well.

Featured image by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images.

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