KAILUA-KONA — Kealakekua Bay reopened Wednesday following a shark attack reported the day before.
The victim, a 26-year-old woman, remains in stable condition after being bitten by a shark while swimming in the bay. After performing a flyover, the Hawaii County Fire Department deemed the area safe for public use.
The unidentified woman, who declined media requests from multiple agencies, released a statement through Kona Community Hospital spokeswoman Judy Donovan Wednesday afternoon:
“I am happy to be recovering following a shark encounter that happened on August 20th in Kealakekua Bay.
“On Tuesday morning, I was snorkeling in the bay. I was returning to shore after swimming near a pod of dolphins. I was about 30 feet off shore timing out the waves to climb out of the water.
“Something bumped me pretty hard on my back. At first, I had no idea what it was. But then, I think adrenaline kicked in when I realized I was bitten.
“The shark knew it had made a mistake; that I wasn’t its natural prey. It let go. I looked back and saw the shark’s face out of the water as it turned and swam away.
“Then, my natural instincts took over. I knew I had to make it to shore, and screamed for help. Thankfully, people came to help me out of the water and put pressure on my wounds. I can’t remember their names, but everyone at the bay was incredible. I walked to the parking lot and waited for the EMTs who arrived almost immediately.
“I am receiving excellent care at Kona Community Hospital. I would like to thank everyone from the Medic 6 EMTs and hospital staff for their care and compassionate professionalism.
“Finally, I’ve been living and working at a bed and breakfast near Kealakekua Bay since coming to the Big Island. I am especially grateful to the B&B owners, who have become my guardian angels during this scary situation.
“I appreciate everyone’s concern. For now, I will not be doing interviews so that I can focus on my recovery.