The lifeguard at Jones Beach "felt a tug and then he saw a fin" Monday around 11 a.m. in the Atlantic Ocean.
Now, according to George Gorman Jr., regional director for the state park system, an investigation is focusing on whether a shark is indeed responsible for the lifeguard's injury, an inch-long gash to his left calf, sustained near the Central Mall.
Still, Monday morning, swimming was suspended and the beachfront cleared of swimmers for three hours as a result, and the New York State Police deployed a drone to survey the beachfront, Gorman said; there were no additional shark sightings, he said.
"The lifeguard suffered a very small injury on his left calf, about an inch in length," Gorman said. "He was treated by our EMTs, and then he went to a local hospital to be rechecked because it was possibly a shark bite."
Swimming resumed soon after 2 p.m.
Gorman, who did not disclose the lifeguard's name, age, or how long he's been on the job — "many years," Gorman said — convened a news conference to discuss the possible shark bite and sharks. Gorman said lifeguards are on heightened alert.
"There generally are sand sharks or tiger sand sharks or sandbar sharks that are in the waters off of Jones Beach and the Atlantic Ocean," he said. "Lately, there’s been bunker fish and bait fish that have been close to shore, so they’ve been close to shore, and it's a little bit unusual."
He said he would advise beachgoers to be aware of their surroundings and to be on the lookout.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said on Twitter that the county police department is intensifying aerial and water patrols "out of an abundance of caution."
Marie Rosenberg of Freeport said hearing about a lifeguard potentially bitten by shark "makes you nervous."
"I don’t think about sharks out here," Rosenberg said, adding that she comes to Jones Beach two to three times a week to walk as, she said, she is not a strong swimmer.
Dylan Coffey of Levittown, 22, said he’s "not terribly surprised" about the report of a shark in the area because of the time of year.
"They’re there already," he said about the sharks.