KAHANA - A 16-year-old California girl was recovering from a leg wound Tuesday afternoon after probably being bitten by a small reef shark while she and her father were in shallow waters at Kahana Beach on Tuesday morning, officials said.
The girl's injury prompted officials to close the shoreline to swimmers from Pohaku Park to the area fronting the Kahana Outrigger. The area is expected to remain closed until noon today when Maui County ocean safety officers and officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources can reassess offshore conditions. No sharks were spotted immediately after the incident.
The girl from Livermore told state officials that she was bit while sitting with her father in nearshore water about 2 to 3 feet deep. She did not see what bit her.
The girl's father was kneeling in the water beside her and felt something bump his lower back. Then, the girl felt something bite her, DLNR officials said.
The wound was described as a 3- to 5-inch missing "flap," or avulsion, to the girl's left calf. Fire personnel provided medical treatment and dressed the wound. The family declined medical transport and drove the girl to seek treatment. The incident was reported around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
DLNR officials said the girl was treated and released at Maui Memorial Medical Center and was back at her condominium unit Tuesday afternoon.
In response to the incident, county and state officials followed standard shark incident procedures. Shark warning signs were posted onshore near the surf area known as "S-turns," or Pohaku Park. The incident took place fronting the Hololani Resort.
State enforcement officers warned people onshore and in the water about the incident and told them about shoreline closure. Staff at nearby condominiums informed people to stay out of the water.
In 2004, 57-year-old Willis McInnis of Kahana died after a shark bit his upper leg while he was paddling his surfboard to catch waves at "S-Turns."
Police said McInnis suffered severe lacerations to his upper right thigh and midcalf. The wound measured 12 to 14 inches long.