KAHULUI - Maui County parks officials closed Kanaha Beach for about 2 hours Monday morning after a lifeguard spotted a 10-foot tiger shark offshore in front of the lifeguard tower.
The closure occurred a little before 9 a.m. and the beach was reopened at 11:30 a.m. after officials deemed it safe to go back in the water, county officials said.
While Kanaha park was open, the beach was closed one mile in each direction from the park's lifeguard tower.
The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo
Maui County Ocean Safety Officer Neil Waikiki runs to shore to grab some gear as fellow officers Keola Brown (on personal watercraft) and Daryl Quenga return from observing a tiger shark in waters off of Kanaha Beach Park on Monday morning. The beach was closed for more than two hours until officials deemed it safe for people to go back into the water.
Maui County Ocean Safety Capt. Jeff Silva said he was on his stand-up paddle board around 8:50 a.m. about 40 yards offshore when he spotted the tiger shark, which had the species' characteristic stripes.
He quickly got out of the water and alerted others.
Ocean safety officers told three to five divers and four swimmers to leave the water.
Silva said the beach was not crowded at the time.
Other ocean safety officers entered the water with a personal watercraft and rescue sled in order to track the shark.
Ocean Safety Officer Daryl Quenga was able to see the shark while on the sled. He estimated it could have been around 14 feet long.
The officers saw the shark at 9:10 a.m. about 50 to 60 yards offshore and tracked it for five to 10 minutes, they said.