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Shark Sightings Prompt Closure of Coney Island Beach, Officials Say

By  Ben Fractenberg and Janon Fisher | July 19, 2016 12:20pm | Updated on July 19, 2016 1:13pm

BROOKLYN — A Coney Island beach was closed Tuesday morning after sharks were spotted swimming near the shore, officials said.

Beachgoers posted videos and photos of what appeared to be at least two sharks swimming near the beach. One video shows a fin rising out of the water only about 10 feet from the shore near the New York Aquarium


Sharks Alert at #coneyisland #shark #coney16

A video posted by Lucien Zayan (@theinvisibledog) on

The city Parks Department said it was closing the beach out of an "abundance of caution" after the sightings. 

"Because sharks have been sighted in certain areas of Coney Island Beach today, Parks has closed specific stretches of beach and will continue to monitor the situation," department spokeswoman Crystal Howard said in an email. 

Lucien Zayan was on the beach at about 7:30 a.m. as part of his morning routine when he said he saw four fins in the water. 

Coney Island Sharks

Lucien Zayan/Instagram @theinvisibledog 

There were about 50 people on the beach and most remained "cool and calm" after the sighting, said Zayan, who runs the Invisible Dog Art Center in Cobble Hill. 

“We’re in pretty much danger everywhere, so why worry about some sharks," Zayan said. "I watched. It was a nice moment. It wasn’t a shark attack."

Jon Dohlin, Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium, said they were probably basking sharks, likely feeding on smaller fish near the shore and did not pose any threat to swimmers.

“I would get out of the water if you see dorsal fins just to be cautious,” Dohlin told DNAinfo.  “Then I would spend as much time given to me watching and marveling — wilderness right here in New York and that’s a very cool thing.”