Kihei visitor attacked by shark
The swimmer makes it out of the water safely with lacerations on his leg and hand
KIHEI, Maui » A Canadian visitor was attacked by a shark near the shoreline of a south Maui beach, yesterday.
Kyle Gruen, 29, an operations manager at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, was swimming about 30 to 40 feet from the shoreline near Kamaole Beach Park II close to 1 p.m. when a shark bit him on the left leg and hand, according to a witness.
"He was screaming, 'Shark!'" said Brad Quinto, the county's acting water safety captain for South Maui. Quinto said that, according to a nearby kayaker, the shark was about 8 to 10 feet long.
A firefighter on a rescue helicopter, patrolling after the attack, saw a big shark near Cove Park, about a half mile north of Kamaole, Quinto said.
The beach was closed a mile in either direction of Kamaole Beach Park II at least until 1 p.m. today.
Gruen suffered about a 15-inch laceration down the top left side of his leg and the top of his hand but won't lose any limbs, his twin brother, Jeff Gruen, said.
Jeff Gruen said his brother had cut muscles in his hand and leg that will require stitching, but the doctors feel his brother won't lose any use of his limbs.
"He's doing all right," Jeff said.
Kyle was visiting Maui to serve as the best man of a friend getting married on the Valley Isle and still intends to make the wedding, Jeff Gruen said.
GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
In the waiting area of the emergency room at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Jeff Gruen shows where his twin brother, Kyle, was bitten by a shark yesterday.
Jeff Gruen said he was resting on the beach while his brother swam when he noticed a commotion and saw people carrying someone out of the water.
He said he went to see what the commotion was about and realized that the person being carried from the water was his brother.
David S. Franks, who was on the beach with his family, said he heard the victim shouting as he made his way out of the water.
"He said, 'Call 911.' He was screaming pretty loudly," Franks said.
Franks, a paramedic from British Columbia, said he and a firefighter tended to Gruen's wounds, while others went for help.
Within the past year, at least two other shark attacks have occurred in south Maui. Both victims survived.
Jonathan Genant, 29, of San Diego, was swimming about 400 yards off Keawakapu when a shark bit off part of his left hand on Dec. 22, 2005.
Nicolette Raleigh, 15, a recent Maui resident, was bitten on her right calf while in a few feet of water at the State Park at Makena on Feb. 27, 2006.
Jeff Gruen said Kyle didn't see a shark but only the gray shape of a fish that bit him.
Kyle, who has been a lifeguard, kicked the fish to get away, Jeff said.
"It was a bad way to start a vacation ... bad luck for him, but it could have been worse," Jeff Gruen said.
RECENT SHARK ATTACKS
There were five shark attacks recorded for 2005 in Hawaii, compared with four in 2004, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
» Feb. 27: A shark bit Nicolette Raleigh on the calf at the State Park at Makena
» Feb. 16: A shark bit surfer Greg Long's surfboard 40 yards off Sunset Beach.
» May 2: A shark bit surfer Scott Hoyt's surfboard 70 yards off Kuau, Maui.
» May 14: A shark bit a kayak about a half-mile off North Kihei in South Maui.
» Oct. 13: A shark bit surfer Clayton Sado's surfboard 100 yards off Honokowai in North Maui.
» Dec. 22: A shark bit the hand of swimmer Jonathan Genant in South Maui.
» March 16: A shark bit a surfer's board 75 feet off Kalihiwai, Kauai.
» March 24: A snorkeler received a laceration to her left foot in Punaluu.
» April 7: Surfer Willis McInnis received fatal wounds to his right leg at Kahana in West Maui.
» Oct. 9: Spearfisher Davy Sanada received lacerations to the face at Pukoo, Molokai.