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Shark fatally bites kayak angler off Hawaii

A shark attack on Monday near Makena State Recreation Area on island of Maui has led to death of one man. Officials with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) say that the angler was fishing for baitfish about half a mile off Little Beach in a kayak.

Little Beach, where the attack took place. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Little Beach, where the attack took place. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The attack happened late in the morning when a shark spotted one of the angler’s legs dangling over the edge of his craft and bit down, causing severe injuries and blood loss. A friend of the victim who was also fishing nearby rushed over to provide aid. The companion tied a tourniquet around the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding and hailed a nearby tour boat for assistance. The victim later died from his injuries.

In the wake of the incident, shark warning signs have been placed in nearby areas and officials have shut down a length of water from Ahihi Bay to Makena Landing. The Monday shark attack marked the thirteenth shark-related incident in Hawaii this year, an increase over recent years that has been worrying officials.

“We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui. That’s why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights,” DLNR Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. said in a statement. “It is our hope and expectation that numbers of incidents will return to a more normal range in the near future.”

On August 14, another Maui shark attack claimed the life of German tourist Jana Lutteropp while she was snorkeling a short distance off the island. Fatal shark attacks are incredibly rare and almost unheard of in Hawaii. DLNR officials record no incidents in 1998 and only one in 2008. Over the last two decades, Hawaii had an average of four unprovoked shark attacks per year. The current increase in shark attacks began last year with 10 reported incidents.

The names of the victim and his companion from Monday’s attack have not been released.