Hawaii shark attack: Woman bitten twice by shark in Kealakekua Bay

A 27-year-old woman is recovering in the hospital after being bitten twice by a shark near Hawaii's Big Island, according to KHON-TV

The woman, whose name has not been released, was swimming in Kealakekua Bay at around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning when the shark attacked her. There were dozens of people in the water at the time the attack unfolded. 

Police said the woman was rushed to the hospital with injuries to her lower back and hip. She was considered to be in serious condition at the time and is now reportedly in "good health," according to authorities. 

Lalu Gardner, a tour guide for the Adventures in Paradise kayak and snorkel company, said he realized something was happening when he heard a "blood-curdling" scream. He paddled his kayak toward the victim and saw blood in the water. 

"She was about 30 feet from shore, blood everywhere. A wave came, and she got swept back to shore," Gardner told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

RELATED: Which states have the most shark attacks

States with the most shark attacks historically
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States with the most shark attacks historically

10. New York: 10 unprovoked attacks

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9. Georgia: 13 unprovoked attacks

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8. New Jersey: 15 unprovoked attacks

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7. Oregon: 26 unprovoked attacks

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6. Texas: 41 unprovoked shark attacks

The expansive Glaveston beach has had 17 total confirmed attacks.

Photo: Getty

5. North Carolina: 60 unprovoked attacks

New Hanover County has had 13 confirmed shark attacks since 1935.

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4. South Carolina: 90 unprovoked attacks

Throughout its history, Charleston County has had 32 shark incidents.

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3. California: 116 unprovoked attacks

San Diego had 17 attacks occur near its beaches.

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2. Hawaii: 143 unprovoked attacks

56 occurred in Maui, home to Wailea and Mākena beaches.

Photo: Getty

1. Florida: 748 unprovoked attacks 

At least 275 confirmed attacks occurred in Volusia County, home to New Smyrna and Dayton beaches.

Photo: Getty


Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief William Bergin said the woman claimed she was between 50 and 100 feet from shore when she first felt the shark. She then managed to make it to shore, where bystanders waited with her until medics arrived. 

Bergin said the high surf in the bay makes it a dangerous area, as visibility beneath the water is lower than normal. He also noted that sharks are particularly prevalent in the area this time of year. 

"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 told KHON.

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

There have now been a total of nine shark attacks in Hawaii his year, according to the Tribune-Herald. That's an increase from three in 2018 and five in 2017.

Just one day after the Hawaii attack, an 11-year-old boy was reportedly bitten by a shark while on vacation in Florida. He is recovering and suffered "very minor" injuries, according to authorities. 

The U.S. experienced a total of 32 shark attacks in 2018, according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History, more than any other country in the world. 

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