A kayaker died from his injuries after he was bitten by a shark in waters off Makena, according to Maui County officials.
Maui police identified the victim as 57-year-old Patrick A. Briney from Stevenson, Wash.
Maui County Ocean Safety officers received a report around 10:20 a.m. Monday that said Briney was fishing in his kayak somewhere between Maui and Molokini Island when he was bitten by a shark.
A friend, who was kayaking with Briney, took him to a nearby dive boat, the Sea Spirit, which then transported them to shore. The friend said Briney was fishing with artificial lures to attract baitfish when his dangling foot was bitten by the shark.
Briney died prior to reaching shore, according to Maui County officials.
William Dunaway, a visitor to Hawaii from Walnut Creek, Calif., was on the dive boat that brought the shark bite victim to shore.
"There was a man in a kayak who was waving to us and we saw that he was tethered to another kayak and he paddled over to us and we saw as he got closer that there was a body in the second kayak," said Dunaway. "As we got closer, we saw that his foot was missing and his leg was pretty shredded. And from the color of his body I think it looked like, mostly likely, he was probably dead already."
"The person who was in the boat said he was a friend, an elderly gentleman, had known him. He was his buddy," said Dunaway. "He heard the man call out to him. He went over to him and he had applied a tourniquet on the leg that was bit and that was when he was waving for us."
Although the incident took place some distance from shore, county lifeguards and officials from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources have closed beaches from Makena Landing to the surf area known as "Dumps" until noon Tuesday.
According to the Division of Aquatic Resources, this is the 13th reported shark incident statewide this year, and the 8th on Maui. Over the last 20 years, Hawaii has averaged about four unprovoked shark incidents per year (see http://www.hawaiisharks.org/incidentyear.html), but numbers per individual year are highly variable. There were no reported incidents in 1998, and just one in 2008. In 2012, the 10 incidents reported were at the time unprecedented.
"We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui. That’s why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights," said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. "It is our hope and expectation that numbers of incidents will return to a more normal range in the near future."
Aila continued, "We offer our condolences to the family of the victim. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."
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