Maui News

Update: Apparent Shark Incident on Hawaiʻi Island

April 20, 2021, 9:54 AM HST
* Updated April 20, 11:35 AM
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State and county crews are are responding to a report of a non-fatal shark incident near the Kūhiō Resort Club House on Hawaiʻi Island. 

Initial reports indicate a woman was swimming about 200-yards from shore, when she apparently encountered a shark. She was taken to the North Hawaiʻi Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources say that at around 8:50 a.m., an ocean excursion tour group of 17 people (including eight on stand-up paddle boards, six in canoes, and two swimmers) were in the ocean, when a jet ski operator told everyone a 10-foot Tiger shark was in the area.

Initial reports indicate, one of the two women swimming  apparently encountered a shark.

Standard shark incident protocols call for shark warning signs to be posted for one mile in either direction from the incident. Additionally, public shoreline access at Kekaha Kai State Park in Kona, Manini’owali Beach “Kua Bay” and from Kūhiō, Four Seasons, and Hualalai resorts are closed today. 

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Response includes first responders, officers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and personnel from the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources.

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Further details are pending release.

The state DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources offers the following safety tips to reduce risk of shark injury.

Ten Safety Tips to Reduce the Risk of Shark Injury

  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 be aware that tiger sharks are known to bite people at all times of the day. (See graphic below.)
  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 dropoffs. 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 excesive 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, and 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. Be alert to the presence of 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 spearfishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.
  10. Swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards, and follow their advice.
Shark warning sign. Maui Now file photo.
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