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Queens, NY - Shark Evacuates Rockaway Beach

Published on: September 1, 2007 09:01 PM
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Queens, NY - The ocean side of the Rockaway Beach's between 107th and 121st streets was shut down Saturday after a shark washed ashore.

People were told to stay away from the water after life guards reported that an approx 6 foot shark was spotted in the ocean near 108th Street. One person pushed the shark back into the water with her foot. People reported seeing the shark swimming near the shore for about an hour afterward. But New York park officials decided to keep everyone out of the water in case the shark is ill or disoriented and decides to return.

Shark sightings are rare in New York. Last year, a dead shark washed ashore in Coney Island, park officials said. [wnbc - vin]

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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »


 Sep 02, 2007 at 05:40 AM Anonymous Says:

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water . . . .

Did any lawyers show up at the beach out of professional courtesy?


 Sep 01, 2007 at 09:32 PM BPSP Says:

QUEENS A beautiful Saturday in the sun took a terrifying turn after a six-foot shark surfaced on the sands of Rockaway Beach in Queens.

Lifeguards were ordered to call beachgoers out of the water and evacuated a portion of the beach after the rare discovery was made.
"A tornado hit Brooklyn, there's floods in Queens, and now all of a sudden there's sharks in Rockaway. It's very odd," said beachgoer Dot Di Lorenzo.
Di Lorenzo was able to capture on camera the shark swimming around with its fin emerging from the water. Her son, Keith, is a shark enthusiast and knew exactly what kind it was.
"You could see the tail and dorsal fin tail was the biggest part obviously, and I'd say it's a thresher," he said.

Hans Walters, the Animal Department Supervisor at the New York Aquarium confirmed the shark was in fact a thresher. "The shark made repeated attempts to swim into shore which isn't normal. Sharks don't do that," Walters said.
The shark's behavior indicates it's likely sick.

Thresher sharks typically prefer the deep waters of the ocean, but are occasionally found in shallow areas. They aren't known to attack humans and feed on smaller fish and crustaceans, though their extremely long tails can cause injury to people when swiped hard enough.
Thresher sharks sometimes move into shallow waters when following schools of fish there.
Despite the fact the sharks aren't known to attack humans, the beach was evacuated anyway.

"The Parks Department was responsible and pulled everybody out of the water. The folks who were comfortable doing so put the animal back the water, and did their best to make sure they were okay. It's a nice story," Walters said.

But with the shark back in the water and still in the area lifeguards took no chances and evacuated the beach from 107th to 121st streets.

Police from the 100 and from the 101st Pct's were out on force on the boardwalk warning beachgoers about the shark as they arrived, telling them to stick to the sand. Witnesses weren't disappointed by the evacuation.
"When something like a shark happens, you sit and wait," said Williamsburg resident John Sanchez.

Marine life officials say sharks are rarely reported in the city's waters, but it's not completely unrealistic that make a home here. "It's a reality of marine life in New York. There are sharks in our waters, but the sharks you find in our waters -- none of them consider people part of the food chain," Walters said.

A parks department spokesman said sharks are not native to New York waters, but they are here because they get caught up in the nets of fishing vessels and then get released near our shores.

Rockaway Beach closes at 6 p.m., and is expected to be reopened Sunday.


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