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Monday, October 11, 2004



Shark bite survivor
recounts his ordeal

A Kaneohe man says he used his
spear gun to drive the fish away


After a large shark tore into Davy Sanada's shoulder off Molokai Saturday afternoon, leaving him severely injured, it came back for more, the Kaneohe man said yesterday from his Maui hospital room.

"I stood up in the water," said Sanada, 34, who was in stable condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center yesterday afternoon, "and I could see him coming back after me."

Sanada said he used his spear gun to scare the shark away once it returned after already biting Sanada on the shoulder and face in shallow waters more than 200 yards from shore. The shark, which rescuers estimated to be at least 12 feet long, then went for the spearfisherman's catches, which were on a float more than 30 feet behind him.

"I think he must have been interested in my fish," Sanada said, adding that he's fairly sure the animal was a tiger shark.

Sanada, a Pearl Harbor pipefitter, had been free diving alone in waters outside Kupeke Fishpond on Molokai when the attack happened just after noon Saturday.

He said yesterday that he was heading into shore when he was bitten by the shark.

"I was swimming in," Sanada said, "and he came out of nowhere. He hit me from the front. ... I didn't see him coming."

After the attack, Sanada said he pulled his wet suit over his shoulder injury to stem the bleeding. He then started working his way into shore as he yelled for help and waved his good arm in the air to try to get the attention of those on the beach.

"I must have been 200 yards offshore," he said. "I had lost a lot of blood. I was getting dizzy. It was an ordeal, but I was yelling for help, and nobody was responding."

Finally, resident Carol Beadle heard the man and called 911. Then, she alerted others and got into a kayak to paddle out to Sanada.

"I just kept trying to make my way toward the beach," Sanada said. "I waved my arms, and I noticed them getting their kayak ready. That kind of gave me my second wind. ... I just had it in my mind to make it to shore."

When Beadle got to Sanada, he was able to slump over her kayak and she took him about 30 yards to the wall of Kupeke Fishpond. The seas were too rough to get him to the beach, she told the Star-Bulletin Saturday, so she left him on the wall and went back to shore to get help.

Rescuers were able to stabilize Sanada at the site, and he was airlifted about 1 p.m. to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Sanada said he's set to be transferred to the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu today, where he'll undergo surgery to repair and clean his shoulder wound.

"I'm missing a small chunk of my shoulder," Sanada said, adding that it's unclear whether he'll regain full use of his arm. "That's something that the doctors and I have to talk about."

Sanada, who was vacationing on Molokai, said he's been spearfishing in the area where the attack occurred several times before and never saw a shark. But he said he's seen sharks while free diving elsewhere, and they have never approached him.

"If I see a shark, I give them all the room in the world," he said. "We respect each other. You've got to realize that's their domain and give them all the respect."

The attack is the first off Molokai since 1992, when a man was attacked while fishing 50 yards offshore of Honomuni. He suffered an abrasion and bruise to his right leg.

State Shark Task Force member John Naughton said the group is still getting information on Saturday's attack, and will likely be interviewing Sanada this week.

He said it's unusual for a shark to attack a swimmer midday in shallow waters, but added the fish Sanada had caught probably attracted the shark.

Residents said no warning signs were posted in the area where the attack occurred yesterday, probably because it is difficult to get to and not well-frequented. A state Department of Land and Natural Resources official could not be reached yesterday to confirm the information.

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