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South Maui beach closed after divers report aggressive shark

The shark-sighting was near the area of Monday's fatal attack

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:21 a.m. HST, Dec 5, 2013

A two-mile stretch of coastal waters off South Maui is closed until sunset Wednesday after two divers reported aggressive behavior by a shark that followed them to shore near Little Beach at about 11:20 a.m.

State officials said the divers told lifeguards that an 8- to 10-foot Galapagos shark made several passes at them while they were spearfishing close to shore off Black Sand beach at Makena. They said they tried to fend the shark off with their spears but it kept coming, so they let it take their catch  and headed back to shore at Little Beach, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Officials closed shoreline waters from Makena Landing to an area called "Dumps," a mile in either direction from the location of the report as a precautionary measure.

"Beachgoers, swimmers, fishers/divers are advised to comply with this closure in the interest of public safety. The state recommends that spear fishermen with speared fish on a line should be extra cautious," said Randy Awo, chief of DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

The closure follows a shark attack Monday that killed Washington state visitor Patrick A. Briney, who was kayak-fishing in waters a half-mile off Little Beach in Makena. That incident marked the eighth shark attack so far this year in waters off Maui.

DLNR officials said they will reassess whether to reopen the area after sunrise today.

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