By by Kailey Aiken
As almost everyone in Rockaway has heard by now, on Monday evening around 5:45 p.m., a 65-year-old woman was bit in the thigh by a shark. The type of shark has not been confirmed, but it is suspected to have been a bull shark. The woman was swimming in about shoulder deep water when she began frantically screaming for help. The lifeguard on the Beach 59th Street chair spotted the case, and lifeguards on the ground reacted quickly, rushing into the water to pull her out. 911 was called as soon as the extremity of the situation was realized. While waiting for EMS to arrive on the shoreline, lifeguards used sweatpants to staunch the blood from the wound and then created a tourniquet with the rope from the buoy. The woman was rushed to the hospital where she was in critical but stable condition. Quick thinking by lifeguards saved her life.
After the events of Monday night, beaches were closed all day on Tuesday. Lifeguards patrolled the beaches to ensure nobody went in the water, and FDNY and NYPD patrolled the water to search for sharks.
Prior to this incident, the last shark attack in Rockaway Beach was 70 years ago. However, there have been several shark attacks across Long Island in recent years. Cleaner water has resulted in larger populations of bait fish closer to shore which in turn brings the sharks closer to shore as well. This is good news for the environment, but obviously not good for beachgoers.
In other news this week, the softball championship was on Monday, but had to be postponed halfway through the game due to an incoming thunderstorm. Midtown and Downtown were due to finish the game on Wednesday night (but as of press time, the game had not occurred yet). Midtown currently holds the champion title from last year, and 73 Shack also holds the Shack Olympics champion title. Downtown is sure to put up a good fight, but it’s looking like this could be a summer of midtown wins.
Before Monday, lifeguards had a fairly easy week on the beach. Cooler weather and some rain kept many patrons from making the trek to the beach, giving lifeguards a much-needed rest from the usual jam-packed beaches and heat.
Now that it’s August and the college kids are all slowly going back to school, the beach will become barer and barer as the weeks go by. It still seems like summer has only just begun, but it’s almost over for many of us. It’s been one of the most hectic summers for lifeguards, and I’m sure there’s still more to come within the next few weeks.