Shark scares prompt delay in swimming event
A South Maui benefit shifts after participants express reservations
WAILUKU » Organizers of a swimming benefit for the Maui Heart Association have postponed the event in South Maui because of two recent shark incidents, including an attack on a 15-year-old girl in one to two feet of water.
Race director Janet Renner said the attack upon the girl "sent up a lot of red flags."
Renner said about 80 percent of the prospective participants polled by her said they would rather not swim on Sunday.
Renner said the 13th annual "Swim for Your Heart" has been rescheduled for another Sunday, March 26.
Renner said about 60 to 100 people participate in the 1-mile triangle course swim that begins and ends at Wailea Beach.
She said participants have ranged in age from 9 to 79.
As in previous events, organizers plan to have volunteers on boats and kayaks, and county lifeguards on personal watercraft.
Kihei teenager Nicolette Raleigh was bitten on the right calf by a shark at Big Beach at Makena State Park on Monday afternoon as she was playing in the water with two friends.
Raleigh said the shark was gray and 8 feet long. She was scheduled to undergo surgery yesterday to repair a severed nerve in an 8-inch-long wound.
She said doctors expect her to fully recover.
The shark-eaten body of San Jose visitor Anthony Moore, a free-diver, was found Friday morning in a snorkeling area known as "Five Graves" near the Makena Landing in South Maui, about three miles north of Big Beach.
Maui police said an autopsy has been unable to conclusively prove that Moore was killed by a shark, and it is possible he might have been dead before he was attacked by the shark.
State and federal officials have said that based on the description of the attacks, it appears two different sharks were involved in the encounters with Moore and Raleigh.
Those who would like to enter the heart swim are asked to call Renner at 573-8656.