Shark bites Big Island surfer, beach reopened

Photo gallery from Pohoiki Bay

A 16-year-old boy was attacked by a shark on the Big Island Sunday.

He was airlifted to the Hilo Medical Center where his family is now by his side.

The incident happened just after 1:30 p.m. while the boy was surfing in Pohoiki Bay. His condition is unknown at this time.

Panic struck Pohoiki Bay after the boy was attacked by what’s being described as an 8-foot, gray-colored shark at a surf spot known as “Dead Trees.”

Witnesses say the shark bit the boy across both his legs.

“He was coming down the wave and a shark came from the side and took him out by the leg and that’s all I could see right from there,” says Issac Belisaro, who was surfing nearby. “I was so close to a shark attack, it was a life deal right there. I can’t explain it. It was too much.”

Some surfers helped bring the boy to safety, until lifeguards could get to him.

They told lifeguards the shark was chasing them.

“When I showed up, the kids said there was a kid with a shark bite and there were two big lacerations to his buttocks and thigh,” Pohoiki Lifeguard Nohea Matsuoka said. “I started putting everything on top of him, cleaning him up and getting him ready for the medic.”

The 16-year-old was taken by ambulance to the Pahoa Fire Station, then airlifted to the Hilo Medical Center.

“Condition is good. Mean, big lacerations to the back of his leg,” the victim’s uncle said.

In the meantime, choppers were seen flying over Pohoiki Bay surveying the area for sharks, but fire officials say nothing has been spotted yet.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources posted signs warning the public to stay out of the waters along the Pohoiki coastline and north of Pohoiki at the area known as “Shacks.”

“That shook me up pretty good, right next to a shark attack. It’s terrible what the ocean can do sometimes,” Belisaro said.

This is the fourth shark attack in the past month.

About three weeks ago, a surfer was attacked at White Plains Beach on Oahu. On July 31, a woman was bit in the midsection while swimming at Ulua Beach Park on Maui, and on Thursday, a tourist was attacked at White Rock Beach on Maui.

This marks the ninth shark attack this year in Hawaii, compared to 11 last year.

Pohoiki Beach was closed Sunday, but was reopened at noon Monday.

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