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Visitor Loses Limb in Shark Attack at Palauea, Mākena

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   August 14th, 2013 · 29 Disqus Comments ·
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Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

(Update: 10 p.m. 8/14/13; Posted: 5:28 p.m. 8/14/13)

A 20-year-old woman from Germany was hospitalized in critical condition, after her right arm was severed in a shark attack at Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, on Wednesday afternoon, county officials confirmed.

The attack was reported at around 4:41 p.m. while the woman was snorkeling about 50 yards from shore. County officials say the conditions were choppy with limited visibility.

“We heard screaming from the water and it was this unbelievable scream like I’ve never heard before,” said Andree Conley-Kapoi, a resident of Upcountry, Maui who was working in the area.

“The only time anybody would scream like that is if they are being attacked by a shark,” said Conley-Kapoi who observed the commotion taking place and called 911.

According to Conley-Kapoi, she could see one person attempting to swim another person in to shore. A separate person grabbed a kayak and went out to assist as well, she said.

“The amount of time from when we heard the initial screams to them pulling her out of the water was probably about 10 minutes,” said Conley-Kapoi who described the woman as being “completely white,” when she reached shore aboard a kayak.

“I could see that she had a bite on her foot, and I could also see that she lost a limb,” said Conley-Kapoi who said it looked like the victim was missing an arm.

County officials say crews from the Maui Fire Department’s Ladder-14 from Wailea administered CPR and first aid upon arrival on scene; and medics transported the woman to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for further treatment.

Crews from Ocean Safety, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Fire department personnel worked to close the beaches for one mile in either direction of the incident from Mākena Beach Resort to Mana Kai Resort. The Maui Fire Department’s Air-1 helicopter and Maui Police were also seen doing air and land patrols of the shoreline area where the incident occurred.

County officials say a search will be conducted on Thursday, Aug. 15, to determine whether or not affected beaches can reopen. The area will remain closed for a minimum of 24-hours according to shark attack protocols, county officials said in a statement.

The public is asked to adhere to all warnings and beach closures.

The incident comes on the heels of a separate incident in which a shark bit an unmanned board about a quarter mile offshore of Kaʻa Point near Kanahā Beach in Central Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. No one was injured in that incident.

The incident also comes on the heels of a shark attack reported on Wednesday July 31, 2013, in Ulua Beach area of South Maui. During that incident, a California woman was treated and released from the hospital after suffering bite marks to her torso.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has a list of tips for “Safety Dos and Don’ts” relating to water safety and sharks. The list is available at the following direct LINK.

***Check back for further details, which will be posted as they become available. 

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena, 8/14/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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  • Maui_Mike

    A severed limb, that’s horrible! I SUP in that area a lot, I have seen two tiger sharks this summer, it scared the shee-shee outa me and my friend, the first one we saw ate a turtle and moved on, this was the first tiger I’ve seen in the 8 plus years I’ve been here.
    I hope she recovers.

    • Tim Emery

      Ive seen 2 whites ,,,both juvenile s..10 -11 ft….but they scare the shee- shee out of me 2 …at least in Hawaii …you brudda s dont have to wear wetsuits .you have it easy there ever try to clean out a suit in the water ?…no easy task !

      • stand alone

        We do wear wetsuits here in Hawaii. But, we don’t have to. And I agree with you if were swimming here and seen those two white’s you’ve seen it would scare the shee-shee out of me too also along with the poo-poo and some blast of gases. LOL. And I can imagine how hard it would be to clean that out in the water. LOL. ; ))

    • stand alone

      scared the what out of you??? LOL LOL LOL. /0_0

      • Maui_Mike

        I borrowed the word from my daughter, just keeping the censor happy!
        I see plenny sharks, but a tiger is scary!

  • Kinipele

    My friend and I were at Kalama SUP surfing in June and there was a 12 foot tiger there–super close to shore and all of the tourists, as well as us. It appeared to be eating something and didn’t bother anyone. I also saw a fin out by the boats at Kam 1 another day earlier this year, but didn’t go investigate what kind of shark it was or the size–figured I’d better call it a day and paddled back to shore.

  • research and teach

    If you remember about the same time last year the same thing happened ” shark attacks”. And too the state and counties, study, learn and warn the people about higher potential of sharks encounter at certain seasons/ times of the year. Make datas. The locals here knows more less when. It’s the tourist that’s needed to be educated and aware of things. Not only about time shares but also about hiking and climbing and driving onto pools of streams / rip currants, hiking in the rain forest when its raining. I know it’s common sense but they tend to lose all that. And three airlines and hotels should do their parts in learning the visitors to the islands. And also to mention those tours personal should be smarter.

  • Don bye me yo

    So you think this is the Tiger that got released from the aquarium?

    • ah oh

      Revenge???????

  • Dakine

    Wtf is going on around here????

    • uncle

      They called Turtles. Planny of dem make fo bountiful feast. Sharks know where to feed. next time you are out swimming with Tutles…dun dun…. … dun dun dun dun…

  • http://www.mauicom.com/ Maui Commercial Media and Comm

    When you look at the big picture there are many changes in our habits
    that go along with the change in currents and earth crust axis etc. Looking
    back 10 years, I don’t recall seeing much if anything in the way of
    Paddle Boarders. Now there are a bunch of people out there beating the
    water with paddles and falling off their boards 25-100 yards off shore
    where people typically were not found. Most people were Surfing the
    Inner Reefs and Staying closer to the beach. I’m not Blaming Paddle
    Boards. Im just pointing out that we are in their territory more than
    ever. And Some of our Islands Biodiversity is returning which means more
    food for sharks. And more food for those who seek a meal from Da Ocean
    eh? But dont forget, The ocean gets hungry too. You have to know when
    it is hungry.

    • http://www.mauicom.com/ Maui Commercial Media and Comm

      Some = Still waiting for Opihi, Limu & Shrimp to return to south side. Think it will happen?

    • uncle

      lol

  • Kai

    While this is a horrible thing, it speaks to the issue of swimming & snorkeling in Maui in areas where there are no lifeguards. We see this all the time with people swimming out alone in unwatched waters. Perhaps a lifeguard would have already been aware of sharks in the area and posted signs and this woman would be unharmed today. While tempting to just jump in at some secluded beach, NEVER swim in Hawaii where there are no lifeguards!

    • uncle

      Sharks never swim around the lifeguards. They know better

  • Rani

    Tourists need to mind Nature and always anticipate potential dangers before jumping in the water!

  • Rani

    Yes, while a horrible thing, this can serve as a reminder to NEVER swim where there are no lifeguards! Perhaps a lifeguard would have known sharks were in the area and posted signs. We see this all the time in Maui: people swimming and snorkeling way out and alone in secluded areas. A quiet beach and calm waters may be tempting, but your life is more important than to risk such danger!

  • SurfergirlSB

    If this is the same tiger shark just released from the aquarium, then their staff should take responsibility and find it. After being in a tank and hand fed by humans, of course it’s going to attack. It is just too coincidental…look at the area where the attacks are taking place. Not happening in up in Kapalua. My prayers are with the German tourist. I hope she recovers strong and has a good support group to help her heal. Everyone in the H20 be safe and never swim alone

    • uncle

      Fetch far much? Its a conspiracy!

    • SurfergirlSB

      Conspiracy? Ok. Just blame the turtles. We never landed on the moon either. If you were taken out of your environment and thrown in a tank and fed by humans you may get a bit hungry once your released out into the real world…and then find it easy to come back to a familiar feeding ground too. Any time we dive into their ocean we are at risk. There are many good points listed about why they are hanging around closer to shore. Locals say respect the shark and I do. Prayers to the woman from Cerritos and to the German tourist.

      • uncle

        Turtles. Too many or too few? Ive see a big boy Tiger close up. Before that I was wondering why the turtles were climbing on top of each other and in groups. Course I am not a sport snorkler. I was working on my mooring. Do yourself a favor. Stay away from the limu and the Honu if you dont want to see a Tiger.

  • whyithappened

    The reason why sharks come out there is because of the underwater fisherman in the middle of the night and/or early morning. They stir up a lot of fish blood which attracts the sharks later that day. The police need to crack down.

    • uncle

      Crack down o what? Spearfishing?LOL! Eh dey was using da ocean for food long befoa da Snorkler wen evolve.

  • Uh OoOooOOoh

    DLNR Is Looking For The Sharks Location…
    MPD Wants To Question It!

  • Goliadkin

    She was swimming in water with poor visibility. When a shark can’t see, they have to bite to find out if you are edible or not. If the water is murky, don’t swim.

  • Benito Juarez

    I honestly think that the state’s ban on shark fin has had a direct effect on the growing number of predators in the ocean. It has been two years since the state of Hawaii criminalize such practice, which helped the sharks multiply with no real predator in site. I am only making an assumption here, but I think we have a strong correlation of said events. My prayer go out to this young woman whose life was changed forever.

    • mike

      …that is not really the answer, Sharks are not multiplying so quickly. The finning is causing the sharks to extinct if it isn’t stopped. Sharks are vital for the eco system Ocean – so leave them in peace. Mankind needs to adjust to nature and not vice versa.
      Sharks are ‘the’ predator in the ocean, required to keep ocean life in balance. We all should be blessed to see them alive.
      If you visit Africa for a safari – there are lions etc. – you have to be careful and act after local suggested behavior if you want to avoid getting bitten by one. Same applies to the ocean.
      I love to dive, snorkel and appreciate the diversity..

      …and i pray for the lady as well!!

  • Alexander Bevil

    “…conditions were choppy with limited visibility.” Weren’t these the same conditions during which the a woman was supposedly bitten by a shark a few weeks ago? While the German woman’s injuries are horrific, two attacks on tourists don’t necessarily mean we should be hunting manō. I wonder how many tourists out of the 2,580,361 who visit Maui each year are bitten? How many are killed or injured in car or motorcycle accidents? Respect the ocean. Shee-shee happens anywhere, to anyone, at any time.


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