Beaches reopen after shark attack

Maui County lifeguards at 1 p.m. Saturday reopened access to the ocean off a 2-mile stretch in South Maui that was closed a day earlier after a 58-year-old Haiku woman was attacked by a shark.

The attack occurred around 1 p.m. Friday when the woman was bitten on her right calf while she was snorkeling near rocks at the south end of Keawakapu Beach.

On Saturday, lifeguards checked waters while riding personal watercraft, and a crew aboard the Maui Fire Department’s Air One helicopter monitored the area, a county ocean safety official said. There were no other shark sightings.

Witnesses reported that the woman was about 60 feet offshore when she was bitten. She was able to make her way onto the reef and call for help. Beachgoers used a bodyboard to bring her ashore. She remained alert while waiting for paramedics to arrive, witnesses said.

The woman told those assisting her that she had been following a turtle when she felt the shark come up behind her and grab her. Medics took her by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center. Her condition was not known.

On Saturday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Carol Clark said she could not release information about the woman.

The closure affected waters offshore of Kihei Boat Ramp to the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. Signs were posted to warn beachgoers of the shark sighting.

It was the seventh reported shark attack this year off Maui and the third off South Maui, state officials said.