Police helicopters and boats being used as ‘shark patrol’ after great white killed woman and others have been spotted

POLICE helicopters and boats are being used to patrol for sharks after a great white killed a woman in Maine and others were spotted in NY.

On Wednesday, Nassau County Police Department used choppers to scout for the underwater predators along South Shore of Long Island in New York after three days of shark sightings.


“If anything is spotted coming too close to shore or displaying erratic behavior, our pilots will get that info to all area beaches and lifeguards no matter what jurisdiction,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said during a Lido Beach press conference, reported Long Island Press.

The precautions come after Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, from New York City was fatally mauled by a shark off the coast of Maine on Monday afternoon.

Two hours after Curran's conference, a shark was spotted off the coast of Nickerson Beach, prompting the closure of all the beaches in Nassau, the Town of Hempstead, and Long Beach.

For two consecutive days before that, South Shore shark sightings resulted in the closure of Nickerson Beach, Jones Beach State Park, and Long Beach.

During Wednesday's briefing Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said there have been 12 confirmed shark bites in New York waters since 1837.


Most recently, one occurred on Fire Island in 2018 following after 70 years of no shark attacks – but Ryder warned swimmers to use "common sense" and not rely solely on police patrols.

Paul Sieswerda, executive director of the marine research organization Gotham Whale, said said shark sightings on Long Island “should not be conflated” with the Holowach's death.

His organization has received  “more than double” the number of shark sightings this summer versus previous years.

“Some of the sharks have been hammerheads, spinner sharks, thresher sharks and animals that tend to be at the surface,” Sieswerda said.

“There are a number of other sharks out there that stay below that have been there forever like sand tiger sharks, spiny dogfish, smooth dogfish and those are just natural sharks that pose no threat to humans.”


Speaking about how to handle a shark encounter, Sieswerda said: “They’re attracted by splashes and anything that looks like an animal is in distress so move carefully and slowly towards the shore."

The Maine Marine Patrol said a witness saw fashion exec Holowach swimming off the shore of the island when she was bitten and beganscreaming.

Two people in a rented kayak came to her aid during the rare shark attack, which occurred just 20 yards from the shoreline.

They helped her ashore and an ambulance arrived but she was pronounced dead at the scene, the marine patrol told WCAU.

Later, scientists discovered the shark was a great white via a tooth fragment, state officials said.

Although rare in Maine, more sightings of the voracious apex predators have been reported there in recent summers.

Officials in Maine and New York have urged beachgoers to stay out of the water at dawn and dusk, when sharks are most active.

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