Shark bites swimmer in Maui waters
Her calf and foot are bitten in waters where an attack occurred in 2005
KIHEI, Maui » For the fourth time in 2 1/2 years, a shark has attacked a person off South Maui beaches.
In the latest attack, a shark bit a female swimmer's foot yesterday in waters off a Kihei beach. She underwent an operation to treat multiple lacerations to her right foot.
In December 2005 a shark attacked a California visitor at the same beach, Keawakapu Beach. In February 2006 a shark bit a woman wading at Big Beach on the right leg. Last November, a shark attacked a Canadian swimmer in nearshore waters at Kamaole II Beach Park.
KIHEI, Maui » A shark bit a woman's foot yesterday in waters off a South Maui resort beach -- the same location where a man was attacked by a shark about a year and a half ago.
The California woman was snorkeling off Keawakapu Beach, north of the Wailea resort, when she was attacked just before 8:34 a.m. She was able to swim to shore.
She required an operation yesterday to treat multiple lacerations to her right foot, authorities said. She also suffered a bite to her left calf.
County and state officials closed about four miles of shoreline from Kalama Park to the Grand Wailea Resort.
County spokeswoman Mahina Martin said beaches might be closed today.
Randy Wolloschuk, a Canadian visitor, said that at one point he saw the woman swimming about 75 yards offshore. "She actually made it in on her own," Wolloschuk said. "I thought she stepped on a coral, then I saw her foot and thought, 'Holy smokes!'"
He said someone tied a tourniquet around her leg to stop the bleeding, and a woman came with a first-aid kit to help. Wolloschuk said when emergency medical technicians arrived, they poured water to flush the wound.
"She was lucid. She was clear," he said. "She was sitting and drinking a bottle of water. She was fine. She was talking."
County fire Capt. Mark Paranada said it was lucky that someone applied a tourniquet to her leg. Otherwise, she might have bled too much and gone into shock.
About an hour before the shark attack, county officials received a report of a shark bumping a surfboard off Kamaole II Beach Park, about a mile and a half from the attack. Officials shut down swimming at Kamaole II and had planned to reopen it until the attack occurred.
State aquatic biologist Skippy Hau said lifeguards on watercraft saw no sharks during their patrol after the attack.
Russell Sparks, a state aquatics education specialist, said he had not spoken to the victim and did not know what kind of shark attacked her.
There have been at least three shark attacks in South Maui in the past two years:
» In December 2005 a shark attacked California visitor Jonathan Genant at the same beach about 400 yards offshore. The shark severed Genant's pinkie finger, the top portion of his ring finger and the side of his palm. A 12-foot tiger shark was later seen in the vicinity.
» On Feb. 27, 2006, a woman wading at Oneloa Beach, also known as Big Beach, was bitten in the leg.
» On Nov. 11, 2006, a shark attacked a Canadian swimmer near shore at Kamaole II Beach Park.
Sparks said reported shark attacks in the state, including those that result in no injury, usually range from three to five a year.
"It's pretty insignificant when you think of all the thousands of people in the water in the state," he said.