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New York City beaches closed to swimmers until further notice after multiple shark sightings

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Several New York City beaches have been closed for swimming until further notice following multiple shark sightings, including one which apparently collided with an unsuspecting swimmer.

New York City Parks banned swimming and wading in the waters off all seven miles of Rockaway Beach in Queens just before 2pm on Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that the closure was prompted by “multiple” shark sightings earlier in the day.

“NYPD Aviation is currently doing aerial surveillance, and we will reopen the beach when it is safe to do so,” they said.

No timeframe was given for when the waters could reopen.

The NYPD’s 100th precinct, which covers Rockaway in the Queens borough, tweeted that the beach boardwalk will remain open.

At least two sharks had been spotted off the coast of the popular beaches on Tuesday, including one that “bumped” into a swimmer, reportedThe Wave.

One sighting was at Beach 67th and the second at Beach 102nd Street, according to the local outlet.

Beach-goers looking to escape the sweltering temperatures across the city had been enjoying the chance to take a dip and cool off in the water along the New York coast.

But their day was disrupted when New York City Parks personnel ordered them to get out of the water.

“It’s really disappointing,” said Chris Benitez, who told The Wave he had travelled from Suffolk County to swim at Rockaway.

On Sunday afternoon – just two days earlier – the east end of Rockaway Beach from Beach 9th to Beach 29th Street had also been temporarily shuttered to swimmers due to “shark activity”.

Surfers in the water off Rockaway Beach in the Queens borough of New York City in August 2021

(Getty Images)

The closure lasted only around two hours that day before the waters reopened at around 4.30pm.

An outright shuttering of the waters – like the one seen on Tuesday – is only done in “extreme cases”, according to NYC Parks.

The recent sightings mark just the latest in a growing string of incidents where swimmers have come face to face with sharks off the East Coast this summer.

At least four people have fallen victim to shark attacks around Long Island in the last month alone, prompting officials to issue a warning to beach-goers.

Last week, a man was bitten by a shark in waist-high waters off Fire Island.

The 49-year-old managed to get out of the water and was transported to hospital via helicopter.

The attack came just hours after a surfer was knocked off his board and bitten on his leg by a shark at Smith Point County Park beach.

The surfer managed to escape by striking the shark and riding a wave to the shore.

Officials are urging beach-goers to only swim in lifeguard areas, stay in waist-deep water and be aware of their surroundings.

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