Shark bites woman twice while she is swimming in Hawaii bay

August 20, 2019 - 5:16 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — A woman was taken to a hospital Tuesday in serious condition after being bitten twice by a shark while swimming in Hawaii, authorities said.

The shark, believed to be a 6-foot (1.8-meter) black tip reef shark, bit one of the woman's legs and her torso while she was swimming in Kealakekua (kay-ah-lah-kay-koo-ah) Bay on the Big Island's western side, said Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief William Bergin. She was about 50 yards (46 meters) from shore, he said.

Bergin said he didn't know if the woman, 26, was a tourist or Hawaii resident. Officials didn't provide her name.

"The shark is still in the area, so we're trying to get people out of the water at this time," he said.

The bay will remain closed until at least noon Wednesday and shark warning signs were posted on both sides of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.

"According to local fishermen, this time of year there's a lot of fish in the area, so it does attract a lot of sharks and dolphins birthing," Bergin said.

The high surf also makes for poor visibility in the water, he said.

This was the ninth shark encounter reported by state officials this year, including one that was fatal.

A 65-year-old man from California died after a shark bit him while he was swimming off a Maui beach park in May. Last week, a surfer in turbid water off Oahu's west coast escaped injuries when a shark chomped on his surfboard.

There were three incidents reported last year and five in 2017.

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