Shark Bites Woman at NYC’s Rockaway Beach, a First in Recent Years

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A 65-year-old girl was bitten by a shark Monday afternoon at Rockaway Seashore, the authorities mentioned, in what seemed to be the primary confirmed shark chunk in New York Metropolis waters in many years.

The girl, Tatyana Koltunyuk, was bitten on the left leg as she swam close to Seashore 59th Avenue, a spokeswoman for the town’s parks division mentioned. Ms. Koltunyuk was swimming alone when lifeguards heard her screaming for assist, in keeping with a police report.

Lifeguards eliminated Ms. Koltunyuk from the water, utilized a tourniquet and administered different first help, and emergency responders then took her to Jamaica Hospital in crucial situation. On Tuesday, her situation was listed as “severe however steady,” the police mentioned.

“We hope for a full restoration for this swimmer,” the parks division spokeswoman, Meghan Lalor, mentioned in a press release. “Although this was a daunting occasion, we need to remind New Yorkers that shark bites in Rockaway are extraordinarily uncommon.”

The police report indicated that Ms. Koltunyuk had misplaced about 20 kilos of flesh on account of the chunk, however footage revealed on-line confirmed that whereas her wound was severe, that determine was in all probability a big overestimate.

Lifeguards ordered everybody out of the water after Ms. Koltunyuk, whom parks officers initially mentioned was 50, was bitten, and helicopter crews looked for sharks with out recognizing any. The seashore was closed for swimming and browsing on Tuesday.

Parks officers and consultants mentioned the shark chunk was the primary at Rockaway Seashore “in latest reminiscence.”

“I don’t assume in my historical past, I’ve heard of that form of harm in our waters, even if I’ve labored with sharks for 30 years,” mentioned Hans Walters, a discipline scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium. “The harm itself is uncommon.”

Mr. Walters mentioned the biting mustn’t trigger individuals to desert their beach-going routines however was a reminder that “our metropolis butts up in opposition to the sharks’ residence.”

“Sharks are our neighbors,” he mentioned. “They dwell in our yard. Now we have to bear in mind that they’re there.”

There have been 20 unprovoked shark assaults in New York State since 1837, in keeping with the Florida Museum’s Worldwide Shark Assault File, a database of all recognized shark assaults.

The biting on Monday was the primary confirmed shark assault in New York Metropolis because the Nineteen Fifties, in keeping with the World Shark Assault File, an unofficial database of such encounters. The final documented shark chunk within the metropolis listed within the database was in 1958, when a person was bitten by a harpooned shark after upsetting it.

Gavin Naylor, this system director of the Florida Program for Shark Analysis, which maintains the Worldwide Shark Assault File, famous that bait fish, together with bluefish and bunker fish, had grow to be extra plentiful within the Lengthy Island area in recent times, and that the water high quality seemed to be bettering.

“That brings in a number of animals that belong there that haven’t been there for some time,” he mentioned. “And with that, we get the animals that prey on them.”

“We will count on that because the ecosystem recovers that we’re going to see a bit extra of that,” he mentioned, including that individuals ought to study extra in regards to the elevated dangers of being within the water.

It might be potential, Mr. Naylor mentioned, to establish the kind of shark that bit Ms. Koltunyuk as soon as extra was recognized about her harm and the depth of the water the place she was swimming.

At noon Tuesday, Seashore 59th Avenue was largely abandoned. A police helicopter whirred overhead, and police autos moved slowly down the boardwalk, their lights flashing. Pink flags prohibiting swimming flapped within the wind alongside the size of the shore.

Nonetheless, a couple of beachgoers have been benefiting from the sunny day.

Nancy Ugalde of Brooklyn was arrange on a colourful seashore blanket with two family. They’d deliberate to swim, she mentioned, and have been alarmed to listen to {that a} girl had been bitten by a shark.

Ms. Ugalde, 58, mentioned Seashore 59th Avenue was her favourite stretch of the Rockaways, a quiet space that’s secluded from the crowds that collect farther away. She had by no means heard of a shark assault in her 30 years visiting the seashore.

“I’m not stepping into there at the moment till they are saying it’s OK to go in,” Ms. Ugalde mentioned. “It’s very scary.”

The final recognized potential shark chunk at Rockaway Seashore was in 2017, when a surfer, Michah Behrend, sustained a foot harm that required 40 stitches.

A day after Mr. Behrend was injured, a child nice white shark was noticed close to the place he had been browsing, reported. One skilled mentioned Mr. Behrend’s wounds didn’t seem like according to a shark chunk.

Mr. Behrend, 38, mentioned on Tuesday that he had by no means discovered precisely what precipitated his harm. He mentioned he had surfed at Rockaway as just lately as Saturday and had heard about latest shark sightings within the space.

“The water temperatures are hotter than standard — I believe that’s been drawing the sharks in,” Mr. Behrend mentioned. He mentioned the sightings and the assault on Monday wouldn’t deter him from browsing when the seashore reopened.

“I believe you simply have to be cautious when going out at sure instances of day,” he mentioned, including that he liked the ocean and visited the seashore each week.

Shark bites have grow to be extra widespread on Lengthy Island currently, There have been eight in 2022, and there have been at the least 5 this yr. On Tuesday, officers closed a portion of Jones Seashore in Nassau County after a potential shark sighting at round 9:30 a.m., mentioned George Gorman, the state parks workplace’s Lengthy Island regional director.

The complete seashore was closed after a second potential sighting somewhat later, he mentioned; there was a 3rd potential sighting as properly. The presence close to shore of enormous pockets and colleges of bait fish and bunker fish, which sharks prey on, helped persuade officers that the water was not secure for swimming, Mr. Gorman mentioned.

Due to the biting at Rockaway Seashore, Mr. Gorman mentioned, drones which are used to watch the waters off Jones Seashore sporadically on most days operated all through the day on Tuesday. The gadgets will scan the surf on Wednesday to make sure that situations are secure earlier than the seashore opens for swimming, he mentioned.

Eliza Fawcett, Chelsia Rose Marcius and Ed Shanahan contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed analysis.

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