Kailua-Kona grandmother talks about encounter with 16-foot shark

A shark's bite mark on a standup paddle board from an attack off the Big Island
A shark's bite mark on a standup paddle board from an attack off the Big Island

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

KAILUA-KONA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Big Island woman is counting her blessings after surviving a shark attack Sunday. Based on the size of the bite mark on her paddle board, officials estimated the shark was at least 16-feet long.

It happened about 30 feet off Lyman Beach in Kailua-Kona.

"It's really nothing less than a miracle that both of us are fine through this whole thing," Alaina DeBina, Kailua-Kona resident, said. "I mean, it could have been tragic."

DeBina says she was paddle boarding and looking for turtles with her three-year-old grandson just before noon, when she collided with something. She initially thought it was a turtle.

DeBina says the impact knocked her and her grandson into the water, so her first priority was to get the little boy back on the board. But the next thing she knew, she was face-to-face with a shark.

"It came up and took a taste of my board," she said. "It basically chomped on my board. Then it turned around and it was flashing its tail at me. That's when I was screaming for my husband, 'Shark, shark.' I was petrified at that point."

DeBina says she kicked the shark as hard as she could, threw her grandson on the board and paddled in. The two were not injured.

Kona police say Lyman Beach was not closed, but signs were posted warning people to stay out of the water.

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