A 66-year-old Washington state woman was injured in a suspected shark attack in waters off Charley Young Beach in Kihei this morning.
Maui County Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the woman sustained injuries to her lower leg, and was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in serious condition after the attack, which occurred shortly before 10 a.m.
The woman, a part-time Kihei resident, had been snorkeling in waters about 40 feet from the shore at a depth of seven feet when the attack occurred, according to a state Department of Land and Natural Resources news release.
A nearby stand-up paddleboarder heard the woman yell for help an responded to the scene. The paddler pulled the woman onto the board and brought her to shore. Also, a visitor from Washington state swam out to assist her.
Two nurses and a firefighter from the mainland who were on vacation treated the woman on the beach before lifeguards arrived, according to a Maui County Fire Department news release.
There were no witnesses to confirm a shark sighting, but the woman’s injuries are consistent to that of a shark bite, officials said. Ocean conditions at the time of the attack were described as calm but “somewhat murky,” according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Lifeguards patrolled waters by jet ski to warn ocean users about the incident. Also on the scene were staff members with DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and Division of Aquatic Resources.
Shark warning signs were posted along the coastline from Kalama Park to Kamaole Beach Park III. Signs will remain posted until noon Saturday when waters will be reassessed.
According to the state’s website on shark incidents in Hawaii waters, today’s incident marks the fifth apparent shark attack that has occurred on Maui this year.
>> Aug. 6 — A stand-up paddler was paddling about one mile off of Hamakuapoko Beach in Paia when a tiger shark, estimated at 10 feet long, bit the hydrofoil of the paddleboard. There was no report of injury.
>> May 3 — A swimmer was floating in the water about 40 yards from the shore at Wailea Beach when a shark attacked the swimmer. The swimmer suffered minor lacerations to the right shoulder. The length and species of the shark was unknown.
>> March 3 — A snorkeler was about 450 yards off of Olowalu Beach when an eight-foot tiger attacked her. The snorkeler suffered minor lacerations to her left foot.
>> Jan. 23 — A stand-up paddler was about 150 to 200 yards off of Wailea Beach when a 10-to-12 foot tiger shark bit the tail of the board. The paddler was uninjured.