Shark sighting closes Makena park

A shark sighting Tuesday afternoon off the north end of Big Beach led to a 2¢-hour shutdown of Makena State Park, a fire official said.

A male and female couple spearfishing about 100 yards from shore off Big Beach were approached by an aggressive 8- to 10-foot Galapagos shark, said Fire Services Chief Ed Taomoto. The shark circled the free divers and their dive float and eventually took their catch of fish.

With the shark continuing to circle, the divers abandoned their dive float and headed back to shore. The shark followed them all the way to the beach, he said.

Once ocean safety personnel were notified of the incident, lifeguards launched a rescue watercraft and began informing swimmers along the shoreline of the shark sighting and beach closure at about 4 p.m., Taomoto said. Lifeguards also retrieved the dive float and returned it to the divers.

A conservation officer from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement arrived at the scene at 4:45 p.m. The beach was reopened at about 6:30 p.m. without further incident, he said.