Fatal Shark Attack Forces Closure of South Maui Shoreline
By Wendy Osher
Emergency crews are responding to a fatal shark attack off of South Maui this morning.
Officials have closed the shoreline from the “Dumps” surf spot in La Perouse to Mākena Landing.
The incident was reported at around 9 a.m. outside of Mākena.
The victim reportedly sustained injuries to their leg and was assisted by another kayak and boat in the area.
The incident comes three days after a shark bite incident reported on Friday, Nov. 30, in South Maui at Keawekapu Beach.
“Maui County Ocean Safety officers received a report around 10:20 a.m. that said the male victim was fishing in his kayak somewhere between Maui and Molokini when he was bitten by a shark,” said county officials in a press release issued following the incident.
County officials say a friend who was kayaking with the victim took him to a nearby snorkeling charter boat, which then transported them to shore.
Authorities say the victim died prior to reaching shore.
Although the incident occurred some distance from shore, county officials say lifeguards and crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources have closed the shoreline area until noon tomorrow.
Confirmed shark bite incidents reported in Maui waters so far this year include the following encounters:
- October 31, 2013, at Ka’a Point in Central Maui: A kite surfer suffered injuries to his right leg and calf in an apparent shark attack incident about 300 yards offshore.
- October 23, 2013, off of Kukona Place in Waiehu: Shane Mills of Maui suffered a laceration to his lower back and left thigh in an apparent shark bite incident.
- August 14, 2013, at Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena: Jana Lutteropp, a 20-year-old German woman had her arm severed in a shark attack incident and died a week later on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
- July 31, 2013, at Ulua Beach in Wailea: Evonne Cashman of California suffered puncture wounds to both surfaces of right side of torso and lacerations to right hand while swimming approximately 125 yards from shore.
- February 21, 2013, at Kā’anapali, Honokōwai: A surfer reportedly suffered lacerations to their right leg after an encounter with a reef shark approx 100 yards from shore in six feet of water, according to state data.
- February 21, 2013, at Pāʻia Bay: A reef shark reportedly bit the rail of a foam surfboard while J. Lansky was surfing approximately 75 yards from shore in 5 to 8 feet of water, according to the state data.
Prior to the death of Jana Lutteropp on Aug. 14, the previous shark-related fatality in Hawaii waters was Maui surfer W. McInnis in 2004 at Kahana.
Confirmed incidents are reported on the state’s Hawaiʻi Sharks website, which is used to document confirmed shark encounters, and “does not include encounters in which a shark does not actually bite a person or board, nor incidents classified by the International Shark Attack File as boat attacks, scavenge, or doubtful.”
Last month, the DLNR launched the $186,000, two-year study to focus on tiger shark movements around Maui, and compared their behavior to that of known movement patterns around the other main Hawaiian islands.
The data will be used to help determine whether sharks around Maui are more resident than they are around other islands, and whether they exhibit greater use of inshore habitats than in other locations, according to information posted on a new web tracking page.