HONOLULU (AP) – A 10-year-old boy was bitten by a shark off Hawaii’s Makaha Beach Park on Oahu, officials confirmed Thursday.
Dr. Bruce Anderson, who is with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said there is little doubt that a shark was responsible for the bite. Officials are currently confirming that with the International Shark Database in Gainesville, Florida, he said.
“All evidence, including eyewitness reports, points to this being a shark bite that we had at Makaha,” Anderson said. The boy, who was bit Wednesday, is doing well and should be out of the hospital soon, Anderson said.
Anderson said this is the first shark bite at Makaha Beach Park in 46 years. In 1969, a surfer was injured by a great white shark in the area.
This is Hawaii’s seventh confirmed shark encounter this year, state statistics show.
On Thursday morning, two surfers were in the water at Leftovers Beach Park on Oahu’s North Shore when they were chased out of the water by a 10-foot shark, Honolulu Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said. Leftovers is the same beach where another man lost his leg when a tiger shark bit him on Oahu’s North Shore in early October.
Officials put up signs and warned beachgoers of the sighting. “No one is in the water,” she said.
U.S. Coast Guard and Honolulu police are also searching the water for a big-wave surfer who was reported missing after going surfing Tuesday on Oahu’s North Shore. Police said they found his truck with his dog and keys still inside Thursday morning near Waimea Bay.
Most shark bites in Hawaii this year have happened in murky water, and all have resulted in injuries. On Tuesday and Wednesday, there were high surf warnings for all north-facing Hawaii shores with waves up to 30 feet, which would have made the waters turbid. Another large swell is expected Friday. In April, a shark killed a woman who was snorkeling off Maui.
Kelly Krohne, an off-duty lifeguard who told Hawaii News Now he brought the injured boy to shore, said the boy suffered a wounds to his legs about 60 to 70 yards offshore.
Officials recorded an average of about four shark encounters per year from 2005 to 2009. Since 2010, the average has risen to almost 9 per year.
Still, the number of attacks is low compared with the number of people in the ocean, said Dr. Carl Meyer, a shark and reef researcher at the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology.
“The number of people living in Hawaii and using the ocean for recreation has increased over time, and this is the single most likely reason for a higher number of shark bites in recent years,” Meyer said in a statement after a shark bite earlier this month.
Crews were sent to close the Makaha Beach and post shark warning signs from Keaau to Lahilahi Point, a Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman said.
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