VIDEO: Divers Recount Waiehu Shark Attack

November 4, 2012, 12:15 PM HST · Updated November 7, 4:46 PM
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DLNR crews patrolled the shoreline where a 30-year-old Kahului man was attacked by a Shark on Sunday morning, November 4, 2012. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

(Update: 4:19 p.m. 11/4/12)

A 30-year-old Kahului man is recovering this afternoon after suffering severe lacerations above his right ankle in a shark attack at the area known as Sand Piles in Waiehu in Central Maui.

Friends say Marc Riglos, a 30-year-old diver from Kahului, had just paddled out with his dive partner, Kaulana Kaaa when the incident occurred at around 8:09 a.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

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“They just got out to the drop-off, which is like a 20-30 minute paddle out… and they didn’t event shoot any fish yet,” said Jarrett Nanod who was also a participant in the 2012 Maui Roi Round-up tournament that took place across the island today.

“He saw the shark attack,” said Nanod. “It bit his (Mark’s) fin and brought him under water. I guess it let go and then came directly for Kaulana.”

Fire officials confirmed that the shark circled back at the victim but he managed to keep it away with his speargun.  The shark then approached the partner before finally swimming away, authorities said.

Authorities say Riglos described what was estimated to be about a 15-foot tiger shark.  The incident happened in about 500-yards offshore, and it took the two about 20 minutes to swim back to shore, said authorities.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

Since the victim was bleeding profusely, the man’s diving partner applied a tourniquet using their tag-line and pulled the victim back to shore, said Mainaga, said Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

“Kaulana, who is an x-ray technician at Kaiser—he put a tourniquet on and told Mark to calm down and they ended up ditching their weight belts, their gear, and their spear guns,” said Nanod, who called Kaulana a hero.  “He swam Mark all the way in and calmed him down, which was pretty cool.”

“He was in stable condition and he was joking around, and is being the normal self that he is, so that’s a good sign,” said Erving Casem a fellow diver and friend who visited Riglos in the emergency room.

“We see sharks probably 90% of the time we’re in the water, but I’ve never heard of any diver getting bitten by a shark here,” said Casem.

“There’s always that factor—we always see sharks.  I guess we’re a little bit more comfortable than usual, but we see tigers a bunch of times—I’ve seen five this year personally,” said Nanod.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

“But it’s weird. This one didn’t even actually approach him—it just showed up after when he wasn’t even looking,” said Nanod.

Tournament officials say they plan to donate funds from merchandise sales to the victim’s family to help pay for medical bills.  Officials said Riglos is a repeat participant in the annual tournament.

The purpose of the tournament is to remove invasive fish from Maui’s reefs, including roi (or peacock grouper), to‘au (or blacktail snapper), and ta‘ape (or blue-line snapper).

DLNR closed the beach from Round Table in Waihee to the Paukukalo River Mouth.  The beach will remain closed through sun-down today (Sunday, November 4, 2012).  Crews will reassess the situation at first light tomorrow.

(Update: 3:20 p.m. 11/4/12; Posted: 11:51 a.m., 11/4/2012)

Wailuku firefighters responded to the Waiehu golf course for a report of a diver having been bit by a shark at 8:09 a.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2012.

Firefighters arrived at 8:21 a.m. and found the victim onshore and conscious.

The 30 year old man from Kahului suffered severe lacerations above his right ankle, said Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.  The injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, he said.

Shark sighting signage was posted in the area of a shark attack in Waiehu on Sunday morning, November 4, 2012. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Since the victim was bleeding profusely, the man’s diving partner applied a tourniquet using their tag-line and pulled the victim back to shore, said Mainaga.

According to first responder reports, the divers had been in the water for about an hour when the victim felt something tug at his leg.  He turned to see what he estimated to be a 15-foot tiger shark.

Mainaga said the shark circled back at the victim but he managed to keep it away with his speargun.  The shark then approached the partner before finally swimming away, authorities said.

DLNR crews responded to a shark attack reported on Sunday morning in Waiehu on Maui. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The pair were about 500-yards offshore when the attack took place.  Officials say it took them 20 minutes to swim in.

The men were participating in the Roi Roundup diving tournament.

DLNR closed the beach from Round Table in Waihee to the Paukukalo River Mouth.  The beach will remain closed through sun-down today (Sunday, November 4, 2012).  Crews will reassess the situation at first light tomorrow.

Ocean Safety Rescue Watercraft assisted by notifying Surfers and Paddle Boarders to get out of the water.

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