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Surfing buddy describes shark attack at Kiholo Bay

  • 2013 January 18 CTY - Surfer Paul Santos. PHOTO BY GABE HEFLIN

The 43-year-old man bitten by a shark on Wednesday is recovering at Kaiser Medical Center at Moanalua tonight and has regained partial use of his hand, which was nearly severed in the attack.

A friend of the victim described what happened in a phone interview from Hawaii island today.

Steve Macres said he and Paul Santos were at Kiholo Bay on the west shore of Hawaii Island Wednesday afternoon for their daily surf session, a spot where Macres has been surfing for more than 35 years. 

After Macres caught a wave, he heard a blood-curdling scream and turned around and saw Santos’ surfboard fly into the air. At the same time, he saw a 15-foot tiger shark twist its body in the air before it landed on the surface of the water. 

The shark charged at Santos like a torpedo, said Macres during a phone interview from Hawaii Island.

Santos was able to paddle about 150 yards to the shoreline. The shark attacked Santos’ right hand and leg just below his knee. His right hand was dangling from his wrist area. Macres said he grabbed a surfboard leash as a tourniquet and tied it around Santos’ right bicep to stop the bleeding and yelled for help.

Santos told Macres, “Oh my God, I’m going to lose my hand.” 

Santos was transported to North Hawaii Community Hospital and flown Wednesday night to Kaiser Medical Center at Moanalua. A hospital spokeswoman said he is alert and stable.

Macres said he spoke to Santos, who told him they reattached his right hand and that he can move his pinky finger. 

This is the first shark attack to occur in Hawaii this year.

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