NEW YORK — Despite only a few weeks left in the summer, the city, still not taking any chances, closed down Rockaway Beach in Queens on Tuesday,.
A woman was bitten so badly that she was rushed to Jamaica Hospital.
The Parks Department and the NYPD monitored the beach on Tuesday, but did not say whether they saw the shark in question or others. They just said it’s not safe to go into the water now.
No swimming flags spread over the desolate beach. The Parks Department said in a social media post that it is a “safety measure” due to recent shark activity.
“It’s concerning, but at the end of the day, sharks live there,” said local resident Glenn Diresto.
Police said a 65-year-old woman was bitten in the leg at about 6 p.m. near Beach 59th Street when she swam near shore. CBS New York spoke to an off-camera lifeguard assisting the victim. He said she was alone and was only about 10 feet in the water when she was bitten.
Footage shows first responders rushing to her before she was rushed to hospital, where she remains in serious condition. Lifeguards initially used a buoy rope as a tourniquet on her leg. In other images too graphic to share, her upper leg was missing much of the flesh, which sources say was found on the shoreline.
Lifeguards said she had a weak pulse but was conscious and they kept her talking. Witnesses told CBS New York she appeared to be in shock.
“The lady is lying on the stretcher. She is bleeding from her leg,” someone said.
“I see a big bite and a small one,” said another.
The incident happened just 15 minutes before lifeguards had the day off. Local said she was lucky.
“The lifeguards here are pretty good. Some of them have been here for years,” said Bryant Pearson.
Helicopters were spotted along the coastline on Tuesday morning. Looks like they were looking for sharks. Meanwhile, members of the NYPD flew drones as part of their aerial surveillance.
The Parks Department said there has been no recent shark-biting incident at Rockaway Beach.
Sources told CBS New York that the water was choppy with high winds and an approaching storm that may have disoriented the big fish. Experts say sharks don’t normally attack humans, but so far the species has not been identified.
“I’m really surprised,” said resident Wyle Hyde. “It’s not like a common beast that’s around here, harmless sharks, like threshers or sand sharks.”
It was the sixthand last year there were at least eight reports.
While the Parks Department said the beach would be closed for just one day, it didn’t say for sure it will reopen on Wednesday. It will probably have to continue to monitor the situation.
The New York State Police said there was a possible shark sighting Tuesday morning at Jones Beach State Park.
Police said the shark was spotted 10 meters from the Central Mall. As a result, swimming is prohibited in the Central Mall, East Bathhouse, and West Bathhouse on Jones Beach.