Kona beach reopened two days after swimmer bit by 14-foot shark

14-foot shark bites swimmer at Big Island beach
Published: Jun. 18, 2013 at 5:35 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 20, 2013 at 3:29 PM HST
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Kekahakai State Park's Mahaiula Beach
Kekahakai State Park's Mahaiula Beach

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update 10 a.m. Thursday]

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will reopen Kekaha Kai State Park (Kua Bay and Mahaiula sections) by 11 a.m. today, after a Hawaii Fire Department helicopter flyover this morning did not sight any sharks in waters off the park.

Yesterday the park remained closed when a morning flyover saw a number of reef sharks in offshore waters

The park is located 2.6 miles north of Keahole airport in Kailua-Kona.

[Update 1:33 p.m. Wednesday]

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will keep Kekaha Kai State Park closed today because of the continued presence of sharks in the area. A Hawaii Fire Department helicopter flyover this morning over the coast sighted eight reef sharks measuring about 5 to 6 feet long in the north section of Mahaiula Bay.

Following the state shark sighting protocol, another flyover will take place tomorrow at about 8 a.m., and, if no sharks are sighted, the park will reopen.

[Original story posted below]

Officials say a Kona beach remains closed Wednesday after a shark bit a swimmer.

It happened Tuesday afternoon at Kekahakai State Park's Mahaiula beach.

An eyewitness tells Hawaii News Now that he saw a 12 to14 foot shark launch into the air.

"This shark just jumps out of the water, like half of its body came out, its whole fine came out," said Edward Dalton. "Then its face went straight down his leg and it took him under water for a couple of seconds and then he came back out and started screaming for help."

Dalton and his brother-in-law helped pull the 28-year-old Kailua-Kona resident onto the sand.

Officials say the shark, which appears to be a tiger shark bit the man on the right thigh as he was swimming to shore.

The victim is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

A spokesperson for the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) says the shark was still visible in the water after the attack. The beach is closed to the public until further notice.

DLNR says that a flyover will be conducted to determine if it is safe to reopen the beach.

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