Man reports Paia shark attack

A 61-year-old man reported that he was bitten by a gray 6- to 8-foot shark Wednesday afternoon in waters off Paia, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said.

Paia firefighters responded to a 5:27 p.m. call at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center that a man had possibly been bitten by a shark, he said. The man told firefighters he had been swimming about 200 yards offshore when he was bitten on his left foot.

The man swam to shore on his own and walked to the front of the youth center, Mainaga said.

Firefighters reported that the man had five or six lacerations to his left foot, with the longest being about 6 inches. They provided first aid to the man’s wounds, and he was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center in stable, nonlife-threatening condition, Mainaga said.

Police and officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources remained at the scene of the reported shark attack to secure the area, he said.

The usual procedure in shark attacks is to close offshore waters for a mile in either direction of the incident.

Wednesday’s report of a shark attack marks the first such incident this year in Maui County. According to a state DLNR website on Hawaii sharks, there were six shark attacks involving injuries in Maui waters last year, most happening in the latter half of the year.

The last shark attack in the state was Dec. 11 on the Big Island, when a 29-year-old Captain Cook man was bitten by a shark while bodyboarding south of Punaluu Beach Park.

The last Maui attack was fatal. Patrick Briney, 57, of Washington died Dec. 2 after his right leg was bitten by a shark while he was fishing from his kayak off South Maui.