2005-07-08 / Community

Dolphin Sighting Causes Scare, Closed Beaches

By Howard Schwach

STOCKPHOTOSTOCKPHOTO Beachgoers enjoying the sand and surf last Friday were forced out of the water when a man out for an early swim reported sharks off the shore of Beach 90 Street.

Police sources say that there has been a spate of shark sightings on New York City beaches this year in the wake of two attacks on swimmers in Florida and the beaching of a dead shark in Belle Harbor last week.

A Parks Department source said that a number of people saw a pod of three dolphins moving back and forth between Beach 90 Street and Beach 107 Street at about 8:30 a.m. on July 1 and reported to the 911 system that there were sharks in the water just off shore.

One man reportedly ran up and down the beach, yelling for people to get out of the water.

“It was reminiscent of the movie, ‘Jaws,’” one eyewitness told The Wave.

Units from the New York City Police Department responded to the call in force. Patrol units from the 100 Precinct checked the beach; while the Aviation unit flew its helicopters low over the water. In addition, Harbor Unit launches responded to the scene from its base in Howard Beach.

The NYPD copter quickly spotted the dolphins frolicking in the surf and reported that there were no sharks in the water.

The beachfront from Beach 90 Street to Beach 108 Street was closed for approximately two hours because of the shark scare, according to park sources.

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