Three shark divers bitten by sharks in Hawaii

A group snorkeling expedition to see sharks in a cage-less environment went awry when three divers were bitten by sharks in Hawaii.

Several people, including father and daughter Regan and Lauren Russell, had signed with Hawaii Adventure Diving to see sharks in open water Sept. 18.

According to the company’s website, individuals pay $150 per person to travel about 3 miles off Oahua’s North Shore for a 2-hour tour.

The Russells told KITV4 that one guide and five snorkelers entered the water around 10:40 a.m. but only saw two sharks.

“Then they kind of revved the boat a little bit to get more sharks to come out,” said Lauren, who is a dog trainer in Kailua. “There were like 15 sharks and hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of fish. And we almost got caught in a frenzy. Fish were eating each other. Sharks were eating the fish.”

Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather – KITV Channel 4

Revving of the engines could be considered a dinner bell sounding for sharks and fish. Several fishermen in Florida have reported sharks approaching their boat as they enter areas close to shark diving activity areas. It is very possible that sharks could have a learned behavior and associate boat engine sounds with free food.

Lauren, 24, said a shark grabbed her right hand, and then grabbed another man’s shoulder. Regan, 57, was watching his daughter get back on the boat when he was bitten.

“I was about 15 feet from the boat, and he came up and nailed me on the arm,” Regan said. “It wasn’t immediately painful. It was just (that) I got bit. It was kind of unreal. It was more the impact than the pain at the moment.”

Once back on the boat, the three injured divers were taken to Haleiwa Boat Harbor where they were met by Honolulu Emergency Medical Service for medical treatment.

The Russells were treated at Wahiawa General Hospital and are expected to make a full recovery.

The third man injured, 31, was bitten on the right shoulder but has not been identified. Based on video from the boat, the wound appeared to consist of several small lacerations.

Lauren doesn’t blame the sharks and has no qualms about going back out. “That was pretty cool. I got a story to tell,” she told Hawaii News Now. This is a fluke. If you’re still looking to shark dive, go and do it. It was a fun experience and I would do it again.”

Another similar situation was reported May 8 when a 34-year-old woman was bitten on her left arm by a shark during a shark encounter trip in the same general area.

The situation was a little odd as emergency services said the original report came through as a person injured by a spear. However, once the injured diver arrived at the dock, she told emergency personnel she had been bitten by a shark.

There have been a total of 72 shark attack bites (67 with injury, 19 of which are considered provoked*) publicly reported and verified in 2019.

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

Five fatal**; 41 were reported in the U.S. (including one fatal), with 22 occurring in Florida (4 provoked) 12 in Hawaii (2 no injury, 4 provoked, 1 fatal) 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).
**One possible scavenge

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