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Shark attacks lifeguard during training exercise

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Officials closed a Long Island beach to swimming on Sunday after what they described as an unprecedented shark attack that injured a lifeguard.

The lifeguard had been playing the role of a victim during a training exercise when the shark bit him in the chest and hand, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told an afternoon news conference.

The attack happened about 10.15am at Smith Point Beach. The lifeguard was receiving stitches and in “very good spirits”, Mr Bellone said.

“If you're going to have an encounter with a shark this is probably the best scenario you could have,” he 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.”

Mr Bellone said there was an additional shark sighting following the attack, though it was not clear whether it was the same shark.

The beach was closed to swimming the rest of the day but expected to reopen on Monday with officials monitoring the water for sharks.

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