This story was reported by John Valenti and multimedia journalist Cecilia Dowd. It was written by Valenti.
Three main beaches at Jones Beach State Park were closed to swimmers for about an hour Thursday afternoon after an enhanced State Police Aviation Patrol spotted two sharks in the Atlantic Ocean waters off the Central Mall, State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation spokesman George Gorman said.
Gorman said the three beaches — the Central Mall, as well as the East and West bathhouses — were closed from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
The sightings are the latest of what have been multiple reports of sharks in Nassau and Suffolk waters this summer — and at least five shark attacks.
Gorman said the incident Thursday began when a State Police aviation unit spotted two sharks following a school of baitfish in the waters off the Central Mall area. He said the school of baitfish headed to deeper water, and the sharks followed.
The sighting came one day after a 16-year-old from Islip was attacked and bitten on the foot while surfing with a friend off Kismet on Fire Island.
Speaking with reporters Thursday, Max Haynes, who's going into 11th grade at Islip High School, said he and a friend were surfing near a group of swimmers about 15 yards from shore Wednesday when, out of the blue, he was bitten by a shark. Haynes said he and the friend had been joking about shark attacks, even playing around in the water, grabbing each other's feet.
"I didn't see anything coming," Haynes said, "and I just felt it, on my foot, like a bear trap, get me from below hard. I felt like it broke my foot. And, then I was struggling and then it just let go … I never saw it. It was below me and I was struggling, so … "
The attack occurred around 5:40 p.m., officials said. Michael Haynes, who also is an EMT, said he was about 25 yards down the beach when his son was attacked.
The elder Haynes said once he was certain the bite hadn't severed any arteries or tendons, he called first responders. He said his wife rode with Max in the Saltaire Fire Rescue ambulance, which took their son to Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip for treatment.
Max Haynes said the bite left "a few puncture wounds" on the left side of his foot and "a good-size gash" — about 4 inches long — on the right side.
"I think I'm very lucky at the outcome, it gives me a cool story," he said.
As his father said: "I'm very grateful that the story will outlast the injury … He'll be telling it to his kids, to his grandkids some day."