comscore Bay closes at Hawaii island’s Napoopoo Beach Park following shark attack | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Bay closes at Hawaii island’s Napoopoo Beach Park following shark attack

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A female swimmer, 27, was attacked by a shark around 8 a.m. Tuesday at Napoopoo Beach Park on Hawaii island’s west side.

Hawaii County officials posted shark warning signs on both sides of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park to warn beachgoers of the shark incident. The signs will be posted through lunchtime Wednesday.

The victim received injuries to her lower back and right hip area, Hawaii Police Department said in a statement.

She was about 50 yards from shore, Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief William Bergin said.

Bergin didn’t know if she’s a tourist or a Hawaii resident. “The shark is still in the area, so we’re trying to get people out of the water at this time,” he said.

Police said witnesses described the shark as having a gray tip. Bergin said he was told it’s possibly a 6-foot black-tip reef shark.

She was transported to Kona Community Hospital for treatment, according to Hawaii County Ocean Safety.

The bay at the beach park, located at the southern end of Kealakekua Bay, will remain closed until at least 12 p.m. Wednesday, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard has also issued a notice to mariners of the incident.

“According to local fishermen, this time of year there’s a lot of fish in the area, so it does attract a lot of sharks and dolphins birthing,” Bergin said.

The high surf also makes for poor visibility in the water, he said.

This was the ninth shark encounter reported by state officials this year, including one that was fatal. A 65-year-old man from California died after a shark bit him while he was swimming off a Maui beach park in May. Last week, a surfer in turbid water off Oahu’s west coast escaped injuries when a shark chomped on his surfboard.

There were three incidents reported last year and five in 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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