A 25-year-old paddleboarder was attacked by a shark Saturday off the private Kukio Golf and Beach Club on Hawaii’s largest island. The victim was hospitalized in critical condition after getting bitten by the predator.
The incident reportedly took place in the morning hours when the unidentified man was standup paddleboarding, according to Honolulu Fox affiliate KHON. The beach had no lifeguards on duty, but a private safety team was present, local media reports said.
In the water, they found “a male individual who had been bumped off his paddle board about 100 to 150 yards offshore,” Fire Capt. Michael Grace told KHON. “They recovered him from the ocean. He had injuries to his right-side extremities.”
According to reports, the victim was paddleboarding with his father when the shark bumped him off his paddle board.
“The incident happened right outside of the Kukio lifeguard stand and they heard someone yelling for help,” John Whiteman, West Hawaii Battalion Chief said. “They launched a canoe to some paddle boarders… when they got on scene, they found a shark attack victim in the water and another male on a paddle board.”
Good Samaritans, including an off-duty firefighter, tended to the man’s wounds, applying multiple tourniquets to his right arm and leg before paramedics arrived. The injured man was airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital where he is being treated. However, his current condition remains unknown.
Local media reports said the beach was closed following the attack. Details about the shark was also not immediately known.
Beach closure following shark attacks is reportedly a standard procedure, along with several warning signs that are put up in the area.
The latest attack is the first on the state’s biggest island since 2015, according to the Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. According to the International Shark Attack File, 65 people were attacked by sharks in Hawaii between 2007 and 2016.
Below are some tips on how to avoid and survive a shark attack, courtesy of the Florida Museum of Natural History website.
1. Choose to swim in a group as sharks most often attack lone individuals. In case of fishing, try not to go away from the shore. Wandering too far from the shore could make it difficult to return fast for help in case a shark is spotted.
2. Avoid the water at night, dawn, or dusk as sharks are most active during these times.
3. In case of a cut, do not enter the water as blood attracts sharks.
4. Leave the water immediately if a shark is spotted.
5. Avoid going into waters containing sewage as it attracts bait fish, which in turn attract sharks.
6. Don’t splash a lot in the water. Erratic movements can attract sharks.
7. Avoid swimming toward a shark if it’s seen in the water. Close encounters with sharks could turn fatal.
8. Do whatever it takes to get away after a shark attack.