A woman was in critical condition following a shark attack Monday off Rockaway Beach, one of the New York City’s most popular Atlantic coast attractions, authorities said.
The attack was reported at 5:49 p.m., in the water at 59th Street, according to the New York Police Department’s public information office.
She remained in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center late Monday night, spokesperson Michael Hinck said.
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation said the victim was a 50-year-old swimmer bitten on her left leg. A senior New York City law enforcement official said an initial review indicated that the victim lost a large chunk of flesh, as first reported by the New York Post.
The attack prompted lifeguards to clear the beach as police in a helicopter searched unsuccessfully for the shark, the parks department said in a statement.
The beach is subject to a delayed open Tuesday, with a start time of 11 a.m. at the earliest, as authorities will continue to monitor the area for sharks, the parks department said.
“We hope for a full recovery for this swimmer,” the parks department said. “Though this was a frightening event, we want to remind New Yorkers that shark bites in Rockaway are extremely rare.”
Multiple shark attacks were reported a month ago northeast of Rockaway, in the waters off Fire Island, off Quogue, a village on Long Island, and off Babylon, New York.
Sand tiger sharks, which can grow to 10 feet, have been spotted in relatively large numbers along the surf line off Long Island this summer.
Experts at the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File say they are attracted to the bays and baitfish of the Long Island coast.
The file last year said that in 2022 New York state recorded eight of its 20 shark attacks reported since 1837.
Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
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