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Second shark attack at Lyman’s Beach in four days

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Teeth marks ring the back end of a surf board after a shark took a taste Wednesday afternoon off Lyman's Beach. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

UPDATED, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26

County officials conducted a flyover of West Hawaii beaches Thursday morning and reported no sign of a large shark.

The beaches are open, but the warning signs will remain posted through the holiday weekend.

Authorities believe it was a tiger shark about 10 feet in length that left teeth marks on a surf board Wednesday.

They also believe the bite marks on the paddleboard from Sunday’s attack were made by a tiger shark about the same size, but say it is impossible to tell whether it was the same shark.

A surfer had a lucky escape Wednesday when a shark bit the back of her surf board off Lyman’s Beach. It was the second shark encounter in four days, although no-one has been injured.

Theresa Fernandez was lying on her 8-foot board about 10-20 yards offshore when a shark bit down on the back end of it and tried to drag her under before letting go. She swam safely to shore and reported the incident shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Shortly before noon Sunday, a grandmother and her 3-year-old grandson were about 30 feet off Lyman’s Beach looking at turtles when something bumped into the board hard enough to knock them into the water.

Based on the size of the bite mark on the paddleboard, officials have estimated the shark to be about 16 feet long.

In a telephone interview with a Honolulu TV station, Alaina DeBina said she came face-to-face with the shark as she tried to boost the boy back on the board.

“It came up and took a taste of my board,” she said. “It basically chomped on my board. Then it turned around and it was flashing its tail at me. That’s when I was screaming for my husband, ‘Shark, shark.’ I was petrified at that point.”

DeBina says she kicked the shark as hard as she could, threw her grandson on the board and paddled in.

The two were not injured.

Later Wednesday afternoon, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials re-posted shark warning signs. Although the beach remains open, authorities strongly urge people to stay out of the water until they can determine the area is free of sharks.

County Fire Department crews performed a fly-over from Kailua-Kona to Keauhou Bay following Sunday’s attack and were again the air Wednesday afternoon.

The helicopter is expected to an aerial survey early Thursday morning.

While bite marks on the paddleboard and surf board appear to be similar in size, authorities cannot be certain whether it is the same shark. Both bite marks are believed to be from a tiger shark.

“Given the timing and the location, it’s likely to be the same shark, but you don’t know for sure,” said Chris Stelfox, lifeguard water safety captain. “We do get more sightings around this time of year.”

According to the International Shark Attack File, Hawaii has recorded 114 unprovoked shark attacks between 1882 and 2009. Eleven of these were fatal attacks – the last being in 2004.

Among the recorded Big Island attacks:

* May 10, 2003

Waimea man, 20, hospitalized after shark bites his calf and foot while swimming between Magic Sands Beach and Kahaluu.

* Nov. 23, 1999

Woman, 51, attacked by 6-8 foot shark off shoreline fronting the Kona Village Resort. The Rhode Island resident was bitten on the buttocks, leg and hands.

* Oct. 1, 1999

Surfer, 16, bitten on arm off Old Kona Airport Park.

* July 21, 1999

Man, 43, bitten on right buttock and thigh near Honolii Bridge, Hilo.

* April 15, 1987

Man last seen swimming from shore out to anchored sailboat in Kailua Bay. Swimming trunks found bitten in half on ocean floor.

* Aug. 24, 1981

Man disappeared while fishing from shore at Keaukaha. Leg found seven days later wedged in rocks 150 yards offshore.

* Aug. 17, 1971

Man bitten on arm by 8-foot shark while spearfishing off Honokaa.

* April 12, 1963

Man bitten on leg and foot while surfing at Awili, South Kona. Shark spotted measuring 12-15 feet.

Warning signs will remain posts at two surf spots along Alii Drive until authorities are convinced no sharks are in the area. Swimmers and surfers are urged to stay out of the water in the meantime. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

7 Responses to “Second shark attack at Lyman’s Beach in four days”

  1. vet2640 says:

    Just imagine if you were a sea creature, in this case a shark, and all these two legged life forms began to frolic and make a mess of “YOUR” back yard, you issued warnings by making your presence known, and still “they” come around and invade “your” playground without “asking”. Know wonder you end up as “FOOD”.

  2. voiceinthedistance says:

    Perhaps they should think about dynamiting the whole coastline to get rid of those pesky sea creatures?

    I’m glad nobody was hurt, but the idea of the coast being “free of sharks” seems a little ridiculous. In murky waters sharks often confuse surfboards and divers for food. In this case, though, I think the tiger was just a little annoyed that these people were in his turf.

  3. Luis says:

    Im Gonna Go To Hawaii On Wedsnday And All This Talk Of Sharks Is Starting To Make Me Wonder If I Should Swim In The Water Or Not

  4. Andy Irish says:

    Two weeks ago (whilst on vacation from the UK), I was leaving a marina in Kona to go on an evening boat dive, there were a bunch men who shouted to us to see ‘a big shark’ down below, by the moored boats.
    The next thing we knew, they threw down a large piece of meat/carcass into the water and then this huge shark head launched out of the water to grab it. The guys on the boat said that it was a tiger shark, and that it had to be at least 16ft. It was massive. Be careful getting in the waters around there; especially if there are morons feeding the shark, this is not the sharks fault… But I wouldn’t want to be on a surf/paddle board near something with teeth that big!

  5. LVB says:

    The Big Island is truly a magical place to visit and no one should be discouraged from going to this island or from getting into the water once there. You can’t live your life in fear or you will never have any fun or experience the magical wonders of life. Just be smart and cognicient of your surroundings at all times, another words have respect for the ocean and its marine life.

    Yes, there are sharks in Hawaii as there are in all of the oceans in the world but your chances of having an encounter with one are slim to none (unless you specifically do a shark dive) and even slimmer chance of being attacked by shark.

    There is a really nice place called Kahaluu Beach Park (Big Island/Kona) where you can swim and snorkel and you will see turtles and lots of fish (it’s a protective cove). The snorkeling is wonderful plus there are life guards on duty and the water is shallow to boot so it’s super kid friendly. Place of refuge is also awesome as are the beaches at Mauna Kea and Hapuna. If you are really scared or concerned about shark encounters just remember that there is safety in numbers (swim in places where there are lots of people such as the places I have mentioned) and just follow the basic safety guidelines for swimming and snorkeling, which you can google and don’t where shiney jewelry.

    P.s. The gentleman from the UK is correct about being cautious at the Honokohau Marina (in Kona) as the tiger sharks do occassionally frequent this area due to people feeding them and waste being dumped into the water there. You wouldn’t want to swim in this area anyway as it’s YUK!

    P.p.s. I am not a Hawaiian resident. I just love to visit the islands and in particular Kona on the Big Island.

  6. Sanger says:

    I moved to the island of Oahu about two years ago, and surf almost every day I’ve seen sharks in the bays but they have never bothered me, or any of us actually. If you don’t provoke them or be just plain stupid by wearing flashy shorts or jewlery than they don’t bother you but honestly the comment on killing all of them off is probably the most stupid thing I’ve heard seeing how they are one of the most elegant creatures in Hawaii

  7. Carol Johnson says:

    Just saw most of Soul Surfer yesterday at a freinds house and I had to leave about 1/2 hour early before it was over but a good movie about a shark attack on a teenage girl surfing and based on a true story!


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