Maui News

Shark Sighted Day After Bite Incident, Waiehu Beach Re-Opens

October 24, 2013, 4:19 PM HST
* Updated October 24, 4:52 PM
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DLNR officers patrol Waiehu coastline following apparent shark bite incident.

DLNR and Ocean Safety officers patrol the Waiehu coastline on Wednesday following apparent shark bite incident. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

State enforcement officers spotted a six-foot shark about 50-yards offshore while monitoring the Maui coastline the day after a reported shark bite incident on Wednesday in Waiehu.

The sighting was made by Department of Land and Natural Resource officers at around 6:28 a.m., on Thursday, Oct. 24, offshore in an area described as a “surf zone.”

Authorities were unable to identify the type of shark and said it soon disappeared and was not seen again.

The DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement reopened the beach at noon on Thursday, Oct. 24, following shark response protocol, which involved monitoring of the water for presence of sharks.


The monitoring was conducted along Kaʻehu Bay, between Paukūkalo and Waiehu, Maui.


During Wednesday’s incident, Shane Mills, 45, of Maui said he was swimming about 100-yards from shore in about 10-feet of water at around 3:55 p.m., when he “felt something grab him” and saw a fin.  Mills said he “elbowed and kicked” the animal which he described as 4 to 6 feet long, which in turn took off in the opposite direction.

DLNR officials remind the public to follow several ocean safety tips provided by the Hawaiʻi Sharks website to reduce the possibility of shark encounters:

“1. Swim, surf or dive with other people, and don’t move too far away from assistance.

2. Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed. But realize that sharks, especially tiger sharks, have been known to bite people any time of the day or night.

3. Do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way. Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in extremely small concentrations.

4. Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances and areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels or steep drop-offs. These types of waters are known to be frequented by sharks.

5. Do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry. Sharks see contrast very well.

6. Refrain from excessive splashing; keep pets, which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are known to be attracted to such activity.

7. Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present. Leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.

8. If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. Avoid swimming near dolphins, as they are prey for some large sharks.

9. Remove speared fish from the water or tow them a safe distance behind you. Do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.

10. Swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards and follow their advice.”

Wednesday’s bite incident comes two months after a fatal shark attack reported at Palauea Beach along Maui’s south shore in August. During that incident, Jana Lutteropp, 20, of Germany, died later in hospital after having her arm severed in the incident.

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