South Maui Beach Reopen Following Monday Morning Shark Attack

October 19, 2009, 8:17 AM HST · Updated October 30, 10:57 AM
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UPDATE:  12:49 P.M. 10/20/09  Following an air surveillance by helicopter conducted at noon today that showed no sightings of sharks in the area, County ocean safety officers and DLNR officials re-opened the shoreline waters from Kamaole 1 Beach Park to Waiohuli Road. The area was closed yesterday and this morning following a shark attack on a male surfer yesterday.

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UPDATE: 7:14 a.m. 10/20/09  South Maui Beaches will remain closed until at least noon today.  A 14 foot tiger shark was spotted on the perimeter of the closure area in addition to a smaller shark of unknown identity.  The beach was closed all day yesterday following an attack that injured a 54 yr old surfer.  The closure stretches from the south end of Kamaole 1 Beach Park to Waiohuli Road in Kihei.  Another assessment will be made at noon.

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The shark bite survivor from this morning’s attack in South Maui has been identified as a 54-year-old surfer.  The man was surfing off of Kalama Beach Park in an area known as “Bowls” when the incident occurred at around 6 o’clock this morning (Monday, October 19, 2009).

Shark Sighting signs were posted along a stretch of South Maui shoreline on Monday following a pre-dawn attack. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Shark Sighting signs were posted along a stretch of South Maui shoreline on Monday following a pre-dawn attack. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The man was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center where he was treated and released by mid morning.  The man suffered injuries to his upper right thigh and the lower part of his right ankle.  Authorities say the man’s surfboard was also bitten in the incident.  Police, Emergency Medical Service Personnel, and Ocean Safety officers responded to the scene.

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The shark was believed to have been a possible sand shark, 6-8 feet in size; however, an assessment of the man’s injuries indicates the bite mark is consistent with a possible tiger shark.

A stretch of South Maui shoreline is closed for the remainder of the day in response to the incident.  The closure stretches from the south end of Kamaole 1 Beach park to Waiohuli Road in Kihei.  The closure will remain in effect until sunset today, with an assessment of the area to be made on Tuesday morning.  Ocean Safety Officers and state DLNR personnel will continue to patrol and monitor the shoreline and near-shore waters throughout the day.

The surf break off the beach is known to be frequented by experienced surfers at dawn patrol.

(By Wendy Osher;  a complete story written by Wendy Osher is available in the online edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

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