Boy describes Makaha shark attack: ‘I didn’t panic’

Raymond Senensi III

A 10-year-old boy is recovering after a shark attack in Makaha Wednesday.

Raymond Senensi III described the terrifying moments during a press conference Thursday.

The fourth-grader at Nanaikapono Elementary said he was boogie boarding off Makaha Beach Park when the shark “came out of nowhere and then I just started kicking it. It dragged me under the water and I kicked it and I was calling for help.”

Senensi said the shark “dragged me off my board and pulled me under.”

“I kicked him in the nose and then I didn’t panic after that,” he said, noting that the shark then swam away. “The board pulled me back up because I had my leash on and I started kicking toward the shore.”

Bystanders came to his aid and brought him to shore.

His mother, Shirita Moreno, said she was by the showers with her daughters when she heard screaming.

“I didn’t know what to think. It’s hard to explain because I never expect what happened to one of my kids,” she said. “We came running across the street and I thought he had drowned.”

Senensi was rushed to Queen’s Medical Center in serious condition.

According to Moreno, Senensi suffered injuries to his inner and outer thigh and ankle. He did not require surgery, and was expected to be released later Thursday.

“I was terrified. I cried, because it could have been worse. The shark was bigger than him. It’s the worst nightmare a parent can ever… but my baby is strong. He’s really strong,” she said.

Senensi has been boogie boarding since he was eight years old. Moreno says they go to the beach almost every day after school, and Makaha Beach Park is Senensi’s favorite spot.

“This week I was just watching the news with everybody getting bites,” Moreno said. “So I told my kids if they’re in the water and a shark does, you know, go and attack them, because I heard one of the people say they dig the eyes right? So I told my son to do that too. Kick them, poke his eye. So he was pretty strong. I was hysterical, he wasn’t. He was telling me, ‘Mom, I’m going to be okay.'”

Senensi and Moreno say they plan to return to the beach Friday with lei to thank all those who helped him, especially lifeguards.

But it could be a while before Senensi gets back in the water.

“I think he will. Just give him time,” Moreno said.

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