Maui Teen Recounts Shark Attack at Makena Beach - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui Teen Recounts Shark Attack at Makena Beach

Nikki Raleigh talks about the shark that attacked her in waters off Big Beach on Maui. Nikki Raleigh talks about the shark that attacked her in waters off Big Beach on Maui.
Raleigh and boyfriend Shane Wilds, who carried her from the water after the shark attack. Raleigh and boyfriend Shane Wilds, who carried her from the water after the shark attack.
Shark Sighted warning sign at Big Beach. Shark Sighted warning sign at Big Beach.

(KHNL) Fifteen year-old Nikki Raleigh thought she was a goner.

"I really didn't think I was gonna survive this cause there was so much pain," she said from a wheelchair at Maui Memorial Hopsital.

A shark bit her leg Monday afternoon while she was celebrating her boyfriend's 17th birthday at Makena's "Big Beach" in south Maui.

Raleigh says she, her boyfriend, and another friend were "wrestling" with each other on the shoreline, in about a foot of water.

"The shark came in behind me and took my feet out from under me," said her boyfriend, 17-year old Shane Wilds. "I thought it was my friend playing around."

"I felt something in my leg and I thought it was my friend trying to tip me under, and it was a huge shark and it just sat there ripping it apart," said Raleigh.

"It got kinda quiet then I just heard her scream real loud," said 15-year old Jessy Larson. "I just knew something was wrong by the way that she screamed."

Raleigh said she kicked the shark off. Wilds carried her to shore, and several off-duty nurses, doctors, and lifeguards on the beach helped control her bleeding.

Raleigh underwent surgery Monday night at Maui Memorial, to "put everything back in place."

She's scheduled to undergo another Wednesday morning.

"Everything got pretty messed up," said Raleigh. "My muscles are all torn and everything but I got really lucky cause the only thing that happened was we're missing part of my nerve."

Raleigh expects to be released from the hospital by the end of the week, and hopes to be back to normal in about eight months.

The attack happened just days after a diver's body was found with shark bites.

State officials say despite two recent attacks in the same area, they say shark attacks are extremely rare.

"We have thousands and thousands of people in the water every day yet, any given year, three, four attacks," said Russell Sparks, education specialist in the DLNR's Division of Aquatic Resources. "It averages out sometimes. It comes in clusters groups, but if you look at it over the long term, the risk of shark attacks is very very minimal."

Big Beach, and other nearby beaches would remain closed to the public Tuesday. Officers kept an eye-out for sharks, but none were spotted.