Female Safe After Board Bitten by Shark in South Maui

September 26, 2019, 11:04 AM HST · Updated September 27, 5:42 AM
Wendy Osher · 68 Comments
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    A female surfer is safe after her board was bitten in an apparent shark encounter in South Maui. The incident was reported at around 9:17 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 off of 1554 Halama Street in Kīhei.

    The incident occurred about 150 feet offshore when a female surfer was reported to be yelling for help.

    Upon arrival, Engine 6 personnel from Kīhei met up with the victim who already made it to shore. She reported that a 6-7 foot shark bit the back of her board, according to Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro.

    “The victim was reportedly shaken, but unharmed. Ocean Safety personnel on a jetski cleared the waters of ocean-goers in the immediate vicinity and continued patrolling the area,” said FSC Yatsushiro.

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    Ocean Safety personnel aboard Jet Skis were patrolling nearshore waters between Cove Beach Park and the Maui VFW Hall at last report.

    For centuries, traditional Hawaiian chants have warned about an increased risk of shark bites in the fall, when the wiliwili tree blooms.  While the chances of being bitten by a shark in Hawaiian waters is considered “extremely small,” October has been documented as the month with the greatest number of shark bite incidents.

    Below is a list of confirmed shark incidents in Hawaiian waters so far this year:
    ***(Data courtesy DLNR)

      • Sept. 18, 2019, 10:10 a.m.: Oʻahu, Haleʻiwa, approximately three miles from shore in 600 feet of water. The victim suffered puncture wounds and laceration to right hand. Officials say this was considered a provoked incident. The shark was described as a Galapagos shark, 5-9 feet long.
      • Aug. 20, 2019, 8 a.m.: Hawai‘i, Kealakekua Bay, approximately 15 yards from shore in 10-15 feet of turbid water.  The victim was bitten on the back of their lower torso while treading water.  The species and length of the shark is unknown.
      • Aug. 11, 2019, 7 p.m.: O‘ahu, Makaha Beach, approximately 100 yards from shore in 8-10 feet of turbid water.  The victim was surfing when a shark bit the nose of their surfboard.  No injuries were reported.  The species and length of the shark is unknown.
      • July 29, 2019, 10:25 p.m.: O‘ahu, Kaiwi Channel, approximately 11 miles east-southeast of Sandy Beach in over 2,000 feet of clear water.  The victim was bitten on the inner left thigh.  Authorities say this was a “cookiecutter shark,” length unknown.
      • May 25, 2019, 8:45 a.m.: Maui, Honokōwai, approximately 120 yards from shore in 15-20 feet of clear water. The victim, T. Smiley, was swimming when he was fatally bitten by an unknown species of shark. Authorities say they are unsure of how big the animal was. The victim lost their left leg at the knee and suffered lacerations to his left arm and hand.  The incident was fatal.
      • May 8, 2019, 9 a.m.: Oʻahu, Haleʻiwa, approximately three miles from shore in 600 feet of clear water.  The victim was bitten on left arm and hand. Authorities say this was considered a provoked incident. The animal was described as a Requiem shark, length unknown.
      • April 23, 2019, 8:30 a.m.: Hawai‘i, ‘Anaeho‘omalu, approximately 35 yards from shore in 30 feet of clear water. A paddler suffered severe lacerations to their inner right thigh, lacerations and puncture wounds to their inner right calf. The animal was described as a Requiem shark, 6-8 feet long.
      • April 6, 2019, 1 a.m.: O‘ahu, Kaiwi Channel, approximately 12 miles east-southeast of Koko Head in more than 2,000 feet of clear water.  A swimmer was bitten on their back just below the left shoulder.  The animal was described as a Cookiecutter shark, length estimated at one foot.
      • March 16, 2019, 3:30 a.m.: O‘ahu, Kaiwi Channel, approx 12 miles east-southeast of Koko Head in more than 2,000 feet of clear water.  A swimmer was bitten on their lower abdomen. Authorities described the animal as a Cookiecutter shark, length unknown.
      • Feb. 4, 2019, 1:30 p.m.: Kaua‘i, Hanalei Bay, The Bowl, approx 320 yards from shore.  A surfer suffered a large “avulsion” above the left knee and additional puncture wounds to left leg.  Authorities described the animal as a Tiger shark, length uncertain.

    Shark bite on surfboard from South Maui incident, 9.26.19) Photo: Maui Fire Department.

    Shark bite on surfboard from South Maui incident, 9.26.19) Photo: Maui Fire Department.

    Maui Now graphic.

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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