Woman released from hospital following shark attack in waters off North Kohala

A 34-year-old Kailua-Kona woman who was attacked by a shark Friday morning while surfing in waters off North Kohala has been released from the hospital.

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A 34-year-old Kailua-Kona woman who was attacked by a shark Friday morning while surfing in waters off North Kohala has been released from the hospital.

At 11:12 a.m. Friday, police received a report that a woman was en route to North Hawaii Community Hospital with injuries to two fingers, according to the Hawaii Police Department. The woman had been surfing in waters off Halaula Lighthouse at Keawaeli Bay in North Kohala, which is located of Old Kohala Mill Road.

Police determined that the woman had been surfing with a friend when he saw her board lift out of the water with her on it. The friend saw what he described as a 12- to 15-foot tiger shark with the board in its mouth.

The shark then began to tow the board out to sea, dragging the woman, who was attached to the board with a surfing leash. As the man paddled toward her, the shark let go of the surfboard. After the friend hit the shark, it swam away, according to police.

The woman and her friend paddled to shore and went by private vehicle to North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea. The woman was treated for her injuries and released shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, North Hawaii Community Hospital Communications Coordinator Krista Anderson said.

“The story that everyone’s talking about down there is that the woman was surfing inside of everybody and the shark went around everyone else and went straight for her,” said a North Kohala surfer who was on the scene but didn’t see the attack.

Conditions were windy with a 4-5 foot swell.

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“It was all dirty, the water,” said the surfer, who declined to give his name. “It’s common for sharks to be around in dirty water.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the beach and posted shark warning signs.

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