KAILUA-KONA — A 25-year-old man was hospitalized with injuries to his hand and leg Saturday morning after a shark attack in the waters near Kukio Beach, said the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Following the incident, which DLNR said occurred at about 9:30 a.m., Hawaii County Civil Defense announced that public beach access in the area was closed and remained closed through Saturday. DLNR spokesman Dan Dennison said a decision to reopen the beaches based on observations will be made today.
Hawaii Fire Department Acting West Hawaii Battalion Chief Michael Grace said the man was paddleboarding with his father when he was bumped off the board and bitten by a shark.
The man was about 100-150 yards off shore at the time, according to a department release.
Members of the outdoor pursuits staff from the Kukio Community Association, Grace said, responded by taking a four-person canoe out, recovering the man and bringing him back to shore.
Dennison, who said the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources was notified of the incident, said the man was 25 and that he sustained multiple injuries to his hand and leg.
Grace said the man, the only one reported to have sustained injuries in the incident, was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital in critical condition and later flown to The Queen’s Medical Center later in the day. His condition at that point was unknown.
Dennison also said standard procedure is to set up beach closure signs to warn ocean goers up to one mile on either side of the incident location until noon the following day.