Police say swimmer may have suffered shark bite off Long Island beach

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The Nassau CountyPolice Department believes that a 57-year-old man may have been bitten by a shark while swimming in the ocean off of Jones Beach on Long Island on Thursday.

Shark bites are an extremely uncommon event on Long Island, though last year several shark sightings prompted Nassau County officials to temporarily close several beaches and begin patrolling for shark activity.

In response to this week’s event, county officials announced that they will increase the frequency of beach patrols through the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend and continue patrolling the area by boat and helicopter for the remainder of the summer.

Officials are not 100 per cent certain that the swimmer’s injury — described as a “laceration to [the] right foot” — was caused by a shark. In general, Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium field scientist Hans Winter told The New York Times, the threat of shark bites to recreationists on Long Island is “overblown.”

Scientists cited by the Times postulated that if people are seeing more sharks in the area, it’s because they’re looking for them now more than they were in the past.

Nassau County has not announced any plans to close beaches at this point.