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Rockaway Beach Park closed to swimming and surfing after a woman suffered an apparent shark bite, officials say


By Maria Sole Campinoti and Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) — Parks officials say Rockaway Beach Park is closed to swimming and surfing Tuesday, one day after a woman was hospitalized after suffering an apparent shark bite near the beach in Queens, New York.

“As a safety precaution, Rockaway Beach will be closed to swimming & surfing today, August 8, due to recent shark activity,” said NYC Parks on verified social media.

Emergency personnel responded to Rockaway Beach shortly before 6 p.m. Monday and found the woman had a serious leg injury, the New York City Fire Department said.

“All indications appear to be a shark bite,” the fire department said.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and was in stable condition with injuries Monday night, the department said.

The incident appears to be one of the latest in a spate of summer shark bites off New York’s coastline. It was the first unprovoked shark attack at the beach in “recent memory,” New York City Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor told CNN.

The last unprovoked shark attack at Rockaway Beach occurred in 1953, when a man got bit while fishing, according to a database by the Shark Research Institute. The last provoked attack in New York occurred in 2010 off of Long Island, when a man was cut by a shark he had hooked while fishing.

The injury comes about a month after a string of five likely shark attacks off nearby Long Island, which prompted local officials to ramp up shark patrols.

The five non-life-threatening bites occurred within two days of one another and alarmed New York beachgoers. The attacks also called to mind a similar series of shark attacks last summer that triggered several New York beach closures.

Swimmers can take precautions to help avoid attacks, said Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research.

“People should always swim in groups. They shouldn’t swim too far from the shore, and they should particularly avoid bait fish,” Naylor told CNN last month.

The risk of being attacked by a shark is relatively low, with only 57 confirmed, unprovoked attacks worldwide last year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Of those, 41 were in the United States, with eight nonfatal incidents in New York.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jessica Xing and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

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