New York authorities deployed a large drone on Thursday to monitor the waters around a popular Long Island beach after three people were injured by shark bites this month, officials said.

The drones were previously used during fires and in search-and-rescue operations but will now also be used to search for sharks off the shores, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during a briefing on Thursday.

The large drone being used can house a spotlight and a speaker to broadcast messages. The department also uses smaller drones that provide thermal imaging and have high-definition video.

The extra patrols come after three separate incidents off Long Island this month. The first occurred on July 3, when Zach Gallo, a 33-year-old Suffolk County lifeguard, was bitten by a shark during a training exercise. Two beaches were subsequently closed temporarily after his attack. He returned to work on Thursday after doctors cleared him for duty.

Two more beachgoers suffered shark bites on Wednesday. Shawn Donnelly, 41, a New York attorney, was bitten on his leg by a shark while in the water on a paddleboard in the morning. He was treated by a park ranger and taken to the hospital resulting in the beach being closed for hours while Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services searched for the shark, officials said.

Smith Point Beach had previously had no reported shark bites and had never been closed to swimming since it opened in 1959.

The beach was reopened after no sharks were found in the area, but a second 49-year-old man was bitten in the afternoon. His name has not been released. He was also taken to a local hospital and treated for his wounds.

"I'm hopeful that this is an aberration and that this goes back to being a very rare thing," Bellone said.