A lifeguard who played a victim during a training session became one in real life when he was bitten by a shark, Suffolk County authorities said Sunday.
Lifeguard Zack Gallo, 33, did well after getting all too close to reenacting a scene from the iconic 1974 film “Jaws,” whose plot centered around the Fourth of July celebrations for Long Island.
A shark of unknown species but believed to be 3 or 4 feet long cut Gallo in the chest and hand off Smith Point Beach in Suffolk County Sunday, County Executive Steve Bellone said of the 10:15 am incident.
The lifeguard managed to stagger out of the water and alerted his fellow trainees, who rushed to help.
“He was bleeding significantly,” Bellone said at a beach news conference Sunday afternoon, adding that Gallo “was in the hospital getting stitches.”
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“He got two stitches in his hand,” spokesman Nicole Russo told the Daily News. “None on his chest.”
Smith Point, about 70 miles east of New York City, was closed that day, as was neighboring Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton Beach. Bellone said the beaches would open Monday to revelers on Independence Day.
Officials and drones will be monitoring the water from now on, especially in the wake of a possible attack on Jones Beach on Thursday.
“We will continue to monitor the use of jet skis, paddleboards, drones and other watercraft,” Russo told The News.
Bellone was relieved it hadn’t been worse.
“If you run into a shark, it’s probably the best-case scenario,” Bellone said, noting the irony that the victim portraitist becomes the victim himself.
Another shark had been sighted nearby, Bellone said, although it wasn’t clear if it was the same shark. He said attacks like these are rare on Long Island, but shark-related incidents are on the rise.