Who is Zack Gallo? Long Island lifeguard survives SHARK ATTACK during training exercise

Who is Zack Gallo? Long Island lifeguard survives SHARK ATTACK during training exercise
Zack Gallo fights off the shark with bare hands during his encounter (Allen Galiza/Getty Images and CBS New York/YouTube)

Warning: The article contains graphic images

A Smith Point Beach lifeguard was bitten in the chest and right hand during his terrifying encounter with a 4 to 5 feet-long shark at Smith Point Beach, 70 miles east of Manhattan. Zack Gallo was attacked by the shark on Sunday, July 3, at about 10:15 am, while he was playing a victim in an ocean training exercise. 

Gallo fought off the beast with his bare hands, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a press conference, reported CBS. “He was playing the role of a victim, and in the midst of that, actually became a victim when this shark bite occurred,” Bellone said. Gallo fought off the shark by “punching down” on it. The lifeguard’s hand wounds likely “occurred as he was beating off the shark,’’ Bellone added. 


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Other guards already in the water for the exercise rushed to help Gallo, who was “bleeding significantly,” but the victim was able to walk out of the water unassisted, the police said. "He was in good spirits." Gallo was then bandaged and taken to a local hospital. “Ironically, if there was any moment to have an interaction with a shark-like that, where you end up getting bitten, that is the moment, where he was playing a victim, and there were actually some of our other lifeguards in this training exercise who are already coming out, and in midst of the incident, he all of a sudden became an actual victim,’’ Bellone said. 

After the deadly incident, Gallo spoke with CBS2. "I felt sharp, sharp pain and I knew it was some kind of ... once I felt the rubbery texture, I knew it was some kind of shark," Gallo said. "I hit the shark three times. I went boom, boom, boom. I guess in the third one it spun back and it's tail hit me in the chest." He told the news outlet that he was treated and released from Southside Hospital, after receiving stitches in his chest. "The most important thing is to respect the ocean, respect that there are creatures out there, and always swim by a lifeguard because you know they will be there to help if there's a situation," Gallo said.


Soon after the attack, Smith Point and Cupsogue beaches both were closed to swimmers due to dangerous marine activity. Both are expected to reopen Monday, the portal reported. Bellone mentioned while authorities were monitoring the water they spotted a shark, but, “We don’t know if it was the same shark or not.’’

Smith Point Beach lifeguard Zack Gallo was bitten in the chest and right hand during his terrifying encounter (CBS New York/YouTube)

Three days earlier, at nearby Jones Beach in Nassau County, a swimmer suffered a “possible shark bite,” prompting county police there to increase beach patrols ahead of the 4th July holiday weekend. 

Shark attacks on Long Island “are extremely rare,” county officials said, but they have increased in frequency of late. The past two years saw more shark sightings than the entire previous decade combined.

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