Terrifying shark attack leaves paddleboarder with gruesome 4-inch gash down legs

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A terrifying shark attack near a popular beach has left a man with a gruesome four-inch gash.

The 41-year-old man, who has not been identified, was paddleboarding in the water off Smith Point County Park, Long Island, US, on Wednesday (July 13) when the grim attack took place.

He was the latest in a string of people to be attacked by sharks in the Long Island area this summer.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said that the beast struck at around 7.30am local time when no lifeguards were on duty.

Ambulances rushed him to a local hospital and he is thought to be okay despite the four-inch gash down one of his legs, reports the Mirror.

The attack is the second to take place at Smith Point in the last 10 days and the beach has now been shut to the public until further notice.

Local officials warned the spate of attacks could be something of a "new normal" in the area.

Executive Bellone said: "I think it is an indication that what we’re looking at is something of a new normal in that sharks … are closer to shore than they’ve been."

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Bellone added that the paddleboarder tried to swing a punch at the shark as it attacked him, thinking it was a sand tiger shark.

According to the man’s account, the shark circled him before a wave pushed him closer to shore.

A spokeswoman for Bellone said that, whilst attacks were rare, they were taking measures to ensure people’s safety including arming lifeguards with jet skies, drones and paddleboards.

Ten days ago, a lifeguard participating in a training exercise was attacked in the same area. A four-to-five foot long shark tried to take a chunk out of his chest.

The lifeguard, 10-year veteran Zack Gallo, was playing the role of victim during that training exercise when he was attacked, Bellone said in a news conference at the time.

He added that the shark also bit Gallo's right hand as he tried to fend it off.

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Luckily, Gallo was able to make it ashore with the help of his fellow lifeguards.

The local town of Hempstead said it had 21 confirmed sightings at its beaches in 2020 and 29 in 2021. Between 1998 and 2020 there were just two confirmed shark sightings.

Experts described the recent attacks as an unprecedented escalation for the area which had historically seen much lower rates.

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