Shark spurs wave of worry Windward
Officials posted warning signs and closed windward Oahu beaches after a shark was spotted near Kailua Beach while lifeguards, police and the fire department investigated separate reports of intestinal remains found near Kailua Beach Park and a possible body in the water near Bellows Field Beach Park.
Earlier in the day, beaches in South Kohala on the Big Island were also closed because of another shark sighting.
Honolulu Department of Emergency Services spokesman Bryan Cheplic said lifeguards and police and were originally called out at about 3:30 p.m. because of a report of intestinal remains found near Kailua Beach.
Cheplic emphasized that it has not been determined if the remains are human. The city Medical Examiner's Office will make that determination, he said.
While investigating the report, officials noticed a large shark behaving aggressively and called the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to close the beach, Cheplic said.
A fire helicopter sent to investigate also spotted the 8-foot shark a couple of hundred yards from Kalama Beach at about 4:30 p.m., said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig. It was not acting aggressively, he said.
After the shark was spotted, ocean safety and fire officials asked people to stay out of the water from the Castles surf break to the Kailua boat ramp, Seelig said.
Signs were posted warning people to stay out of the water.
About the same time the helicopter spotted the shark, beach-goers at Bellows told lifeguards that they saw a body floating in the water, Seelig said.
About 15 firefighters searched for the body by helicopter, boat, and on foot along with federal lifeguards and state officials.
By 6:15 p.m., no one had been reported missing, and officials called off the search, Seelig said.
"There was no body at Bellows," he said. "We did see a shark in the helicopter, and there were some animal parts that were observed at the other end of Kailua Bay - more than likely animal parts."
Beach officials will check the beaches for sharks this morning before deciding whether to open the beach, Seelig said.
Meanwhile on the Big Island, officials closed Hapuna and Wailea beaches yesterday after a 12-foot tiger shark was seen about 30 yards off shore at about 11 a.m., according to an e-mailed news release from the Fire Department and Ocean Safety Division.
Big Island firefighters and state officials monitored the water for shark activity and will re-evaluate the closure this morning.