Paddler Reports Apparent Shark Bite off Big Island
A 75-year-old man received wounds to his leg in an apparent shark encounter in waters off Hawaiʻi Island Tuesday morning, accoring to officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The incident occurred at around 10 a.m. in an isolated area between ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay and Keawaiki in the Waikoloa area of north Hawai‘i.
The man and three others report they were paddling outrigger canoes about a half-mile off shore when one of the boaters noticed the victim had stopped paddling.
The victim said a shark first bit the hull of the canoe and knocked him into the water. He said he fended off the shark with his paddle, according to DLNR reports. The man could not identify the shark species but estimated it was the same length as his twelve-foot-long canoe. His fellow paddlers helped him get back to shore and a friend took him to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital for further care.
The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources reports the fire department conducted a helicopter fly-over of the area but no sharks were spotted. Another fly-over is scheduled for Wednesday morning, March 27, to ensure sharks have not moved into more heavily used areas. Due to the ruggedness and remoteness of the area no warning signs have been posted. State officials say the area is not typically visited and requires a two-mile hike in to reach the coastline.