Kiholo Beach reopened after no sharks found

Man, 43, bitten by tiger shark with injuries to lower right arm, knee

 UPDATED 7:32 PM HST Jan 17, 2013
Shark sighting sign
HONOLULU -

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says Kiholo Beach was reopened at 1:30 p.m. Thursday after no sharks were seen from Kiholo to Spencer Beach Park.

A Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter, with a DLNR aquatic resources staff member, flew over the area on the west side of the Big Island at 1 p.m.

Fire officials say a 43-year-old man was bitten by a shark Wednesday evening. The man suffered injuries to his lower right arm and his knee.

The man was surfing with a friend at Kiholo Bay when he was bitten about 200 yards off the north side of the bay.

A group of staff members from a beachfront property, including the home's general manager Adam Atwood, came to his aid and kept him stable until paramedics arrived.

Atwood said that in the 35 minutes it took for help to arrive, Santos shared with them how he had to punch the shark with his other hand to save himself.

"When he starting punching the shark, the shark jumped completely out of the water and they said it was between 15 to 16 feet long," said Atwood.

Atwood said Santos and his surfing partner were in shock much of the time, but surprisingly calm enough to remember that, "They had just mentioned to each other that they hadn't seen any turtles in last 15 or 20 minutes and within a minute of saying that, the shark hit him."

The area is known for sharks, according to Atwood, who says he often sees a lot of them while stand-up paddling.

"There are a lot of turtles here. There's a lot of good food for the sharks and so it's very attractive for them," Atwood added.

Kaiser Permanente identified the man as Paul Santos and he is in stable condition at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center, as of Thursday afternoon.

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