Truro Shark Attack: New York Man Apparently Bitten at Longnook Beach

A sign warning beachgoers about shark activity in the area

TRURO – A 61-year-old New York man was med-flighted from Cape Cod late Wednesday afternoon following an apparent shark attack off a Truro beach.

William Lytton, of Scarsdale, was swimming just offshore at Longnook Beach around 4 p.m. when it appears he was bitten.

Truro Police and Fire immediately responded and transported him to Wellfleet for a medflight to a Boston trauma center.

“At approximately 4:11pm the Truro Police Department received a 911 call advising a person had been bitten by a shark on Longnook Beach. Truro Rescue and Police responded,” said Truro Police Lt. Craig Danziger in a statement.

“A 61 year old male was located approximately 300 yards south of Longnook Beach, within the boundary of the Cape Cod National Seashore.”

The beach was packed at the time of the incident as dozens looked on while the unidentified man was rushed up the steep sand trail.

A beachgoer reads shark warning signs after a reported shark attack Thursday at Longnook Beach in Truro

The Cape Cod National Seashore issued the following statement following the attack:

“The patient stated he was standing in the water 30 yards offshore when the shark bit him. The location of the incident is approximately 300 yards south of Longnook Beach in Truro within the boundary of Cape Cod National Seashore. The patient was treated by Town of Truro EMS, transported to the Marconi Site helispot in Wellfleet, and flown via helicopter to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. US National Park Service rangers are investigating.”

Sharks in local waters have become a way of life on the Outer Cape in recent years. A Colorado man was bitten by a great white shark in Truro in 2012. He recovered from his injuries.

Other beachgoers described a quickly evolving situation, with Truro Police and Fire officials reacting quickly to the scene.

“My husband had the binoculars and he saw somebody dragging someone out of the water and he was like ‘oh my God, I think I see some blood,’” said Jeanne Bonneau of Rhode Island.

“We saw a bunch of people standing around trying to help this person,” said Bonneau, who said she would eventually go back in the water, but “stay a little closer to shore and not swim over my head.”

Suzanne Tamasy of Arlington, Mass., said she was walking up the sand dunes when she saw police and National Park rangers arriving.

“Apparently he (the victim) had a gash and was bleeding down his leg,” said Tamasy.

“We’ve been here enough to know there have been shark sightings up and down the coast,” she said.

Tamasy said she would go back into the water but be vigilant of her surroundings.

Aiden Rodriguez of Braintree, Mass. saw the man being carried off the beach and praised the work of emergency responders.

“Right away, they jumped into action and wrapped him up in the blanket,” he said.

Debbie Collins of Quincy said she saw the man swimming off shore about 15 minutes before the attack.

“He seemed a little bit far out,” she said.

Collins said the man’s wife came running toward the victim as he was being helped out of the water. Collins and a group of people tried to help comfort her as she was notifying her children, who were also on the beach.

Collins said she and her family are aware of their surroundings when in the water and planned to be back on the sand on Thursday.

At the top of the dune where beachgoers walk down to the water at Longnook are large signs that warn people about sharks in the area.

Many were reading and taking pictures of the signs in the hours after the attack.

Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Cynthia Wigren released the following statement on the shark attack.

“We offer wishes for a full recovery to the victim of today’s shark bite and convey our sincere sympathy to him and his family.”

“Encounters with white sharks in which people suffer injuries are as terrifying as they are rare. While we still don’t know all of the details of this particular bite, sharks are not known to target people specifically and when they do bite people it’s usually a case of mistaken identity.”

The incident didn’t appear to scare off too many people, with most staying on the beach after the attack and some even venturing back into the water.

In the early evening, the beach remained busy with locals, tourists and news reporters.

By MATT PITTA, News Director

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