Hawaii shark attack victim, 65, suffered 12-inch bite.
A WOMAN has been attacked by a shark off the coast of Hawaii, resulting in beaches in the area being closed, authorities have confirmed – the third such incident this year.
The 65-year-old Californian tourist named as Kimberly Bishop was attacked by the shark at 8.30am yesterday morning (7.30pm UK time). She had been kayaking several hundred yards offshore in Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala when she was bitten on her right upper thigh, Hawaii Fire Department said. The woman was brought back to land in a kayak before being airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where she is currently in stable condition.
After the attack, the fire department flew over several miles of shoreline to survey the situation, but was unable to see any sharks in the water.
Nevertheless, a County of Hawaii Civil Defense Service spokesman said beaches had been closed as a precaution.
Mrs Bishop told Hawaii television station KHON2: “The water was really clear so I could see in front of me.
“There was nothing in front of me. We could see all the way down.
“Something came up from behind, knocked over the kayak and bit my leg.”
Mrs Bishop’s husband Kim added: “I saw the fins in the water and I immediately paddled as fast as I could to get over to her.”
The bite measured roughly 12 inches in diameter, and is thought to have came from a blacktip reef shark, which can grow up to five feet in length, Dan Dennison, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said.
If true, the attack was unusual Mr Dennison said, adding: “There is no record of this species biting anyone in Hawaii.”
Shark expert Michael Domier was sceptical, suggesting the size of the bite was too big for such a relatively small shark, adding: “It sounds a lot more like a tiger shark quite honestly.
“Blacktip reef sharks eat fish, they are not interested in people.
“Tiger sharks are much more scavengers, they will each just about anything.”
For this reason, attacks by tiger sharks are much more common than by blacktip reef sharks, according to statistics.
The attack is the third in the state of Hawaii in 2019, according to the DLNR.
The last incident saw a shark bite the side of a canoe, without causing any injuries.
In 2018, three incidents were reported throughout the whole year, including on in which a man had his leg bitten off below the knee.
There have been no fatal attacks since 2015. Forty species of shark live in Hawaii’s waters, including hammerheads and great whites.