Shallow Water Attack Baffles Experts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shallow Water Attack Baffles Experts

Matthew Wolff Matthew Wolff

(KHNL) While the recent shark attack on Maui was surprising, so was where it happened - in such shallow waters. Thousands of people do it everyday across the state. Getting in the water to swim, surf or just get their toes wet. In shallow water, many can not believe there could be sharks nearby.

"it's not unusual for even tiger sharks, big tiger sharks, to come up in to such shallow water that they can barely move" said Randy Honebrink of the state Shark Task Force.

But while experts know that sharks can come close to shore, they still don't know why they would attack a person.

"You can't really explain why sharks bite people."

Even the experts are confused over the behavior of these predators, so we wanted to see what beachgoers know about these feared creatures swimming in our waters. Are most sharks in the ocean dangerous?

"No. Mostly, killer white. But they are not around here. Tiger sharks are the ones we have to worry about. But they're pretty rare also" said Waikiki resident Matthew Wolff.

Actually here in Hawaii - tiger sharks are one of the common near-shore sharks we have. One of abot 50 species of sharks. Most are harmless to humans, but attacks happen. So do they ever target people in the water?

"Well, certainly sharks are predators. But I would think that they would go after easy prey like a fish" said  Bernie Asbell, a visitor from Vancouver.34:10

Some experts believe attacks on humans happen when a shark is going after other prey in the water and a person gets in the way or draw attracts attention.

"There's just so much difficulty in understanding why these events happen, but clearly they are mistakes. Clearly the shark does not intend to go and bite a person. But other than that they're very difficult to try and explain away" said Honebrink.

One question the experts can answer is if the last two attacks came from the same shark. The answer is no. Monday's attack involved a smaller grey shark while the one on the missing diver involved what was believed to be a bigger tiger shark.