10-Foot Tiger Shark Attacks Snorkeling Tourist Off Big Island In Hawaii

A tourist from Kansas, whose identity has not yet been made public, has been sent to the hospital after being the victim of an attack from a 10- to 12-foot tiger shark at the Hapuna Beach in Hawaii.

The incident occurred at just before noon on Wednesday, March 18.

The 58-year-old man, who suffered a bite wound on his left forearm, was first taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital before being transported to The Queen's Medical Center in Oahu.

At around 3 p.m., it was revealed that the man was in stable condition, according to a spokeswoman of the hospital.

Beaches in Waialea to Mauna Kea were closed, with the tiger shark still continuing to cruise along the surf line at the Hapuna Beach even after an hour had passed since the attack. A helicopter from the Hawaii County Fire Department tracked down the shark and saw stripes on the animal's body, confirming that it was a tiger shark.

There were several snorkelers in the water around 20 yards out from the southern part of the beach when the shark launched its attack. The injured man, who was snorkeling with his family at the time, was dragged out of the water by several bystanders.

"There was commotion in the water and we responded. Initially we didn't know what happened," said Paul Tucker, a lifeguard at the Hapuna Beach. "Then we saw bystanders dragging him in."

"He punched the shark, causing it to retreat," said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The lifeguards helped the injured man to the shore and placed a tourniquet on his arm as they waited for the arrival of emergency services.

According to authorities, in addition to the severe lacerations that the man suffered on his left forearm, he also received lacerations on his left thigh.

In 2014, scientists tagged several tiger sharks in the area surrounding Hawaii to try to determine just how close the animals came to populated beaches. The effort was spurred by several attacks that were blamed on tiger sharks, with six such attacks occurring last year.

The researchers found out that, while the tiger sharks swim out into the open ocean, the animals frequently visit waters at depths of less than 600 feet in regions around Maui. Locations where tiger sharks are most often seen correlated with popular beaches in Maui.

Photo: Albert Kok | Wikimedia Commons

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