Update 4:30 p.m.: Woman bitten by shark off Kihei beach
A female snorkeler was bitten by a shark about 20 to 30 yards off Charley Young Beach in Kihei on Friday morning, and shark-warning signs have been posted along Kihei beaches, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Maui Fire Department.
The victim, 66, was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in serious condition with injuries to her lower left leg, said Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto early Friday afternoon. She hails from Washington state but is a part-time Kihei resident.
Ocean conditions were calm but somewhat murky when the attack occurred just before 10 a.m., DLNR said. The woman was swimming in 7 feet of water. There were no witnesses to confirm the shark attack, but the woman’s injuries were consistent with a shark bite, Taomoto said.
Bystanders on shore heard the woman yelling for help from about 20 to 30 yards offshore, between Charley Young Beach and Cove Park, Taomoto said. A male visitor from Washington state swam out to assist the woman. A nearby stand-up paddleboarder also heard the commotion and came to her aid. The woman as pulled onto the board and brought back to shore.
Two nurses and a firefighter vacationing from the Mainland began treating the woman before ocean safety lifeguards arrived and took over, Taomoto said. Paramedics treated the woman and transported her to Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Shark-warning signs have been posted from Kalama Park to Kamaole Beach Park III and people are advised to stay out of the water. Staff from DLNR divisions of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and Aquatic Resources are on the scene and assisting Maui ocean safety officers in patrolling the shoreline, warning ocean users and beachgoers.
Following the state’s shark response protocol, warning signs will remain up until noon Saturday, at which time the situation will be reassessed.
DLNR posted a warning earlier this month saying that shark bites are more common in October than other months. For general shark information and safety tips, go to hawaiisharks.org.