Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Another shark
attack closes Big
Island shoreline

A shark 6 to 8 feet long bit
a mainland visitor who was
swimming off Kona

By Gary Kubota


About a mile of shoreline fronting the Kona Village Resort and the Four Seasons Resort remained closed today until state officials assess the potential for another shark attack.

No shark was seen during a helicopter search this morning.

Art Officials planed to fly over the area this afternoon to look for sharks, before making a decision about whether to continue to close the near-shore waters.

A shark, estimated at 6 to 8 feet long, attacked a 51-year-old Rhode Island woman who was swimming off the Kona Village Resort yesterday evening.

The shark attack is the third shark attack on the Big Island this year and second in north Kona within two months.

The victim, identified as Laurie Boyett, was in satisfactory condition this morning at Kona Community Hospital after undergoing surgery.

Hawaii Civil Defense administrator Harry Kim said the county was working with state officials to conduct an aerial and ground observation of the ocean.

Boyett was swimming 300 yards off shore from the Kona Village Resort at about 5:20 p.m. yesterday, when she encountered a gray-colored shark that bit her on her right buttock, Big Island Police officer Joel Field said.

Field said Boyett injured some fingers as she used her hands to get away.

Boyett was swimming with her 17-year-old nephew, who was not injured.

Field said two employees from the resort heard Boyett and the boy's cries for help and used a small motor boat to get the woman and bring her ashore. A county rescue helicopter transported her to Kona Community Hospital.

Randy Honebrink, a member of the state's shark task force, said prior to the two incidents, there had not been a shark attack reported in Kona in 50 years.

The last shark attack took place Oct. 1 when surfer Jesse Spencer, 16, was attacked off of the Old Kona Airport Park, several miles south of yesterday's incident. That attack also took place near dusk.

Another attack took place in Hilo on July 21 when 43-year-old Griffith Yamaguchi was bitten near Honolii Bridge. There were two other attacks on Maui and another on Kauai this year.

Honebrink said there are spurts in shark attacks, then usually a decrease to what people consider to be normal.

"I don't think you can say statistically it makes a lot of difference," he said of the number of shark attacks this year.

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