Nassau County Politician Swims at Lido Beach to Allay Shark Fears
There is no palm to fear!
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman swam at Lido Beach on Sunday to prove to residents they don’t have to fear sharks following two recent attacks on Long Island.
“Our lifeguards know their job. They are well trained. Our lifeguards will tell you where to swim and where not to swim,” he told a press conference before diving into the Atlantic.
Blakeman, a Republican, wore a dark blue camouflage swimsuit and black t-shirt as he swam among children during the stunt.
“I insist: do not swim in unprotected waters. We have excellent lifeguards, follow their instructions, follow their lead and make sure you can see our lifeguards so they can see you,” he said.
The pol told swimmers to stay away from anglers when in the water.
“The shark hunts the fish. They really don’t care about human beings. They are interested in fish.
He also recommends looking for birds in the water as they are known to follow fish – and sharks might not be far behind.
« If there are a lot of birds in or around the water, that’s probably an area you shouldn’t swim in. »
Blakeman bathed after two lifeguards were bitten by sharks in recent weeks. John Mullins, 17, was attacked about 150ft off Ocean Beach on Thursday while carrying out a training exercise.
He was playing the role of a victim in the exercise when he was bitten on the foot by what officials believe was a 3-5ft sand tiger shark.
Smith Point Beach lifeguard Zack Gallo was also pretending to be a victim during a lifeguard training exercise last Sunday when he had to fight off a shark with his bare hands.
Gallo told the Post that he suddenly felt a « sharp pinch » in his hand as he hovered.
« That’s when I pulled him to my chest and the survival instinct kicked in, » said Gallo, who has been a lifeguard for 10 years. « I backed up and just started hammering, and I felt the rubber texture of the head. It was like the size of a basketball.
He was bitten on the hand and chest, but luckily he only needed a few stitches and some bandages.
Gallo said he wasn’t afraid to get back in the water and the shark was probably just « curious » and not trying to eat him.
“We are visitors in their world. It was just a curious animal. I have to miss work for 10 days, but I can’t wait to get back in the water.