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Man bitten by shark at Ninole Bay; recovering at Ka‘u Hospital

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Police are investigating a shark bite that occurred Wednesday (Dec. 11) at Punaluu in the area of Punaluu Beach and Ninole Bay.

At approximately 8 a.m., a 29-year-old Captain Cook man reported being bitten by a shark while body boarding in the area of Ninole Bay, which is just south of county’s Punaluu Beach Park.

Officers contacted the victim at Kaʻu Hospital, where he was being treated for his non-life-threatening injuries.

The victim reported being approximately 20 yards off shore in 8 feet of water when the shark attack occurred.

He was body boarding with two friends, who identified the shark as being a tiger shark 10 -12 feet long.

The victim is expected to be released from the hospital after treatment for lacerations to his hand and knee.

The beach was closed and is expected to remain closed until at least Thursday.

The Big Island already had recorded three shark attacks this year:

* Aug. 18, Pohoiki, Puna — 16-year-old Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi bitten while sitting on his surf board. A 12- to 14-foot tiger shark was spotted in the area by the crew of a fire department helicopter.

* June 18, Kehaka Kai State Park, North Kona — 28-year-old Kona man attacked by 12- to 14-foot tiger shark while swimming off Mahaiula Beach.

* Jan. 16, Kiholo Bay, North Kona — 43-year-old man bitten while surfing.

The last time the Big Island recorded multiple attacks in a single year was 1981.

Hawaii typically averages four incidents per year. However, the state recorded 11 shark attacks in 2012 and 13 attacks in Hawaii waters so far this year. Both years set new records.

Maui has recorded eight of the 13 attacks this year, including two fatal attacks. Maui also recorded the last fatal attack in the state back in 2004.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and DLNR Aquatic Resources staff are responding to a report of a shark incident that took place Wednesday between 8 to 8:30 a.m. in ocean waters between the County’s Punaluu Beach Park and Ninole, in Ka’u District of the island of Hawaii.

It was reported by Hawaii County Police that a male, 29, and two friends were in the water body boarding about 7 a.m. About an hour later, while the male was paddling back out, he was about 20 yards from shore when he was hit and knocked of his board by a shark. Type of shark is thought to have been a 10 to 12 foot tiger shark, according to the victim’s friends.

According to DOCARE, water depth was about 8-12 feet , conditions windy with surf. The male was transported by friends via private vehicle to a hospital in Pahala with non life-threatening injuries.

Police have confirmed to DOCARE that Punaluu Beach Park has been closed by county lifeguards. Lifeguards have posted shark warning signs at Punaluu beach park, which will remain closed the rest of today.

The fire department helicopter flew over the area at 10 a.m. Wednesday and will do so again Thursday morning, If there is no further sighting of sharks the park will reopen at noon Thursday.

Kau Kakoo, a local community outreach group, will help to inform beachgoers that the shore is closed.

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