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Shark Sighting at Hamptons Beach Bars Swimming

In this photo taken with a cell phone, a girl timidly approaches a 20-foot-long basking shark on Gilgo Beach on Tuesday, July 14, 2009. The basking shark, estimated to weigh 2,000 pounds, washed ashore on the town beach a few miles east of Jones Beach. (AP Photo/Sophia Hall)

Swimmers were ordered out of the water for the second day after about a half a dozen sharks were spotted off a Cupsogue Beach County Park in the Westhampton.

The latest warning came after fins were spotted near the beach Wednesday morning. Warning signs were also posted at nearby Smith Point County Park on the eastern tip of Fire Island.


“We are notifying vehicles when they comes in that they are not allowed to go swimming at this point,” said Emily Lauri, spokeswoman for the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.

West Hampton Dunes police Sgt. Tim Turner told the Associated Press reports of sharks in the water first came at Cupsogue in around 3 p.m. Tuesday. There were about 50 people on the beach at the time.

The sharks, which reportedly looked to be about 18 feet long, were spotted within 15 feet of the shore line. Some onlookers thought they were thresher sharks.

A fisherman told 1010 WINS that he believes they were basking sharks, which are harmless to humans.
Turner said it’s not unusual to see sharks, but not so many at one time.

A few sharks remained in the water as residents gathered to watch them just after 7 p.m. Turner said local officials normally close a beach until sharks clear out.

A Suffolk County police helicopter was deployed to the scene to monitor the sharks.

The beach is at the west end of Dune Road at the foot of the Moriches Inlet.
Lifeguards are only on duty on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend. Fulltime lifeguard coverage begins June 18 at both beaches.

The incident comes nearly a year after a fisherman was bitten on the arm by a blue shark while trying to remove a hook from its mouth while shark fishing 25 miles off the coast of Long Island last July.

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