Sharks pulled from water at Fire Island beach after attacks
Anglers hauled in two sharks off of Fire Island on Thursday, but returned the creatures to the sea — an act of kindness applauded by one of the two young beachgoers bitten in apparent shark attacks on Wednesday.
Fishermen nabbed the sharks about 100 yards off of Atlantique Beach, but quickly tossed them back into the surf where they belong, a National Park Service spokeswoman said, citing Town of Islip officials.
The 12-year-old girl nipped in a shark attack at nearby Sailors Haven cheered the catch-and-release.
“I’m glad they took them back [into the water],” said Lola Pollina, who had her right leg nibbled in the waves on Wednesday. “[But] I wish they would put them further out.”
The Islip seventh-grader’s dad echoed the merciful sentiment.
“It was sharks being sharks. I don’t blame the sharks for biting my daughter,” said Philip Pollina. “I would’ve been upset if they killed them.”
Minutes after Pollina was bit, a 13-year-old boy who had fallen off of a boogie board was attacked at Atlantique Beach.
It was at that beach on Thursday that two men yanked one of the thrashing sharks from the waves by its tail in front of creeped-out onlookers, a video posted by an ABC 7 reporter shows.
The clip doesn’t capture the roughly 4-foot shark’s ultimate return to the sea, or any footage of an 8-footer caught nearby, according to ABC.
Experts identified the creature in the clip as a sand tiger shark, a normally docile species which can range up and down the East Coast, and can also be found off of Australia and South Africa.
“They’re very infrequently implicated in any attacks on humans,” said Dr. Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Still, sand tiger sharks — which can grow to 10 to 11 feet in length — are popular attractions in captivity for their prominent sets of jagged chompers, according to Naylor.
“They feature a lot in aquaria … [because] they’ve got a spectacular array of very scary teeth,” Naylor said.
The creature that bit the 13-year-old boy left behind one of its own teeth in the wound, which as of Thursday was still being analyzed to try to identify the species responsible.
It’s unconfirmed whether either of the sharks caught on Thursday was the culprit.
Meanwhile, beaches along Fire Island re-opened on Thursday after being closed in the wake of the attacks.
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