Shark bites woman twice in Hawaii

shark bitten surfboard

Updated August 27

A woman is in the hospital after being bitten twice by shark in Hawaii.

The unidentified local woman was snorkeling with dolphins in Kealakekua Bay at Napoopoo Park Beach on the western side of the Big Island Aug. 20.

Around 8 a.m. she was timing waves breaks as she headed back to shore when a shark, identified as a grey reef shark, bit her lower back and then the right hip area. 

Witnesses reported the vacationer was about 30 feet from shore when she was bitten and then pushed to shore by a wave.

Bystanders assisted the woman out of the water and administered first aid until paramedics arrived.

She was taken to the Kona Community Hospital in serious condition, but has been upgraded to stable condition.  

Following shark attack protocol, the beach has been closed for 24-hours at which point the situation will be reevaluated.

Earlier this year, another swimmer was attacked by a shark on the island.

Kimberly Bishop, 65, was kayaking with her husband in Anaehoomalu Bay April 23.

“The water was crystal clear, and you could see all the way down to the bottom,” Kimberly told Tracking Sharks. “Since it was so clear I wanted to get some nice pictures of the coral and the reef fish that were starting to show up again.”

Around 8:15 a.m. she leaned over to look under the edge of her boat and a shark struck the back of her kayak, which knocked her into the water.

“It was like I had been hit by a truck. It was just a boom to my kayak. Almost immediately I felt the (shark) chomp on my leg,” she said.

The shark bit down and tore a deep wound on the inside of her right leg.  Her husband and a few people on an outrigger canoe came to her aid.

She was flown to the to North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea, where  doctors used 70 staples to close the flesh wound.

Earlier this month a surfer reported a shark attacking his board.

shark bitten surfboard

Max Keliikipi, 16, was off Makaha Beach on the west side of Oahu when a he thought he spotted a turtle fin in the water Aug. 11.

“It goes underneath the water, [and] I put my feet on top of my board. I’m just sitting there, looking around for it,” Keliikipi told KHON. “And then, boom, it comes underneath me, bites my board.”

He said the shark was about 10- to 12-feet long and missed his feet by an inch or two.

The force threw the junior lifeguard into the water where his training kicked in. 

“There is that fear factor. It was the fight or flight thing, and for me it was just flight,” said Keliikipi. “As soon as I hit the water, I just started swimming, and I didn’t think about where the shark was. I just had to get in.”

He made it to shore unscathed, but his board is missing a large chunk at the tip.

The island has a larger number of shark interactions in October when tiger sharks begin berthing in the waters near the islands.

There have been a total of 63 shark attack bites (59 with injury, 14 of which are considered provoked*) publicly reported and verified in 2019.

All locations have been marked on the 2019 Shark Attack Map.

Five fatal**; 35 were reported in the U.S. (including one fatal), with 19 occurring in Florida (3 provoked), 9 in Hawaii (1 provoked,1 fatal, 1 no injury) and 2 in California (1 no injury). Ten have been reported in Australia, zero fatal. Four unconfirmed bites, worldwide, not included in the total count.
*Provoked defined as spearfishing, feeding sharks, fishing, etc. (listed with green marker).
**not including one possible scavenge

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