Last Wednesday, a German tourist had her arm bitten off by a shark while snorkeling off the coast of Maui.
On Sunday, a 16-year-old local surfer was attacked by a shark off the coast of the Pohoiki coast of the Big Island. He received bites to both of his legs and was airlifted to a local hospital and is currently listed in ‘satisfactory’ condition.
“He was coming down the waves, and the wave and shark came from the side and took him out by the legs.” – Isaac Belisaro, eyewitness who was surfing nearby, told Hawaii’s KHON-TV
Earlier on Sunday, officials had closed Hapuna Beach on the Big Island after lifeguards spotted a shark. Following Sunday’s shark attack, Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources closed beaches along the Pohoiki coastline off the Big Island.
Scientists are blaming the rise in shark attacks on the murkier than normal waters caused by tropical storm Flossie.
“Because there’s lots of food being carried in there, so they’re coming closer the shore. The water’s murky, they’re basically biting into anything that they sense it’s not a good time to be in the water. [Tropical storm Flossie was] carrying concentrations of fresh water in there and the sharks can sense what’s in the water, so they’ll be curious. The water visibility will be bad and they’ll be basically testing out whatever’s there and if you’re in there, they’ll test you out.” – Waikiki Aquarium Director Dr. Andrew Rossiter told KHON2
Hawaii has experienced 9 shark attacks this year. Last year there were 12. The last fatal attack was in 2004 when a 57-year-old surfer was bitten in the thigh and bled out before he could be saved.
Reunion Island just put a ban on surfing after 2 fatal shark attacks in the past 3 months. They are also going to kill 90 sharks to help ‘stem’ the problem.
To be clear, shark attacks are very rare worldwide. We kill about 100,000,000 of them each year, they kill about 5 of us each year. Regardless, it’s something surfers and water goers should be aware of and we need to avoid certain areas at certain times if possible.