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Shark attacks lifeguard during training exercise off Long Island

Two Long Island beaches were closed Sunday after a shark attacked a lifeguard during a training exercise, officials said. Officials said the lifeguard was rushed to the hospital, where he received stitches, CBS New York reports.

The attack happened about 10:15 a.m. at Smith Point Beach, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, adding that the lifeguard is in “very good spirits.”

“We are very grateful he is doing well. I just spoke to him a short time ago,” Bellone said Sunday at a press conference. “We have never had an incident like this occur. Hopefully, we never will again.”  

The lifeguard had been playing the role of a victim during a training exercise when the shark bit him in the chest and hand, Bellone said.

“If you’re going to have an encounter with a shark this is probably the best scenario you could have,” Bellone said, adding the lifeguard received immediate treatment from other officials already engaged in the training. “We have never had an incident like this occur. Hopefully we never will again.”

Bellone said there was a shark sighting soon after the attack, though it was unclear if it was the same shark from the lifeguard incident.

Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches have both been closed to swimmers, but both are expected to reopen Monday, CBS New York reports.

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