Two children have fallen victim to separate shark attacks off the coast of New York – the first time such incidents have been reported in the area in seventy years.
A 12-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy were bitten on the legs miles apart from each other on Wednesday.
The incidents resulted in some beaches being closed, and two sharks were reported to have been caught nearby later in the day – although they were not confirmed to be the creatures responsible.
The girl, Lola Pollina, told a press conference she had been standing waist deep in the water, and rushed back to the shore with a bloody leg after she had been bitten.
“I saw something, like, next to me, and I kind of felt pain, and looked and I saw a fin,” she said of the attack, at Sailors Haven in Brookhaven.
“I thought it was a shark, because we were at the beach, so it wasn’t like it could have been a tiger or something.”
Lola believed the animal that bit her had been around 90cm-122cm (3-4ft) long.
Shark attacks are extremely rare in the waters of Fire Island, where the attack took place, and indeed anywhere else around New York.
Ian Levine, chief of the Ocean Beach fire department, said only ten cases of shark bites have been reported of New York State.
The last incident was in 1948, he said.
A tooth was extracted from the leg of the boy, who was boogie-boarding two miles away at Atlantique beach when he was bitten.
The tooth will now be analysed to identify the species of the attacker.
Experts have said both the tooth and the bite marks on the girl’s leg were “consistent with a large fish”.