Two youngsters frolicking in the surf miles apart along the Fire Island National Seashore in New York suffered puncture wounds to their legs on Wednesday in apparent shark attacks that would mark the state’s first such incidents in 70 years, authorities said.
The victims – a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy – were discharged after emergency medical treatment for their separate mishaps, each with a bandaged right leg, and both were expected to fully recover.
What appeared to be a shark’s tooth was extracted from the boy’s leg and will be analyszed to determine the species of the creature he encountered while boogie-boarding at Atlantique Beach in the town of Islip, officials said.
The girl, a middle school student identified at a news conference with her parents afterward as Lola Pollina, said she was standing in waist-deep water at Sailors Haven beach in nearby Brookhaven, two miles (3km) east of Islip, when she was bitten.
“I saw something, like, next to me, and I kind of felt pain, and looked and I saw a fin,” she said, recounting how she realized her leg was “all bloody” as she scurried from the water.
The shark she saw appeared to be about 3’ to 4’ (91-122 cm) long, she said.
Shark attacks on humans are extremely rare in waters off Fire Island, east of New York City, or anywhere else in the state, according to Ian Levine, chief of the Ocean Beach Fire Department, whose paramedics aided the boy who was bitten.
Only about 10 cases of shark bites on people have ever been documented in New York state, the last one in 1948, Levine told Reuters by telephone, citing information he said was furnished by Islip town supervisors.
Neither incident had yet been officially confirmed as a shark attack, but Levine added: “The tooth we pulled out of the kid’s leg looks like a shark’s tooth.”
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