A surfer was hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after a shark bit into his right leg in the waters of Honolulu’s busiest tourist district on Oahu’s south shore, authorities said.
The attack was reported around 7 a.m., and first responders included Honolulu Emergency Medical Services and the Honolulu Fire Department, said Shayne Enright, a spokeswoman for the Honolulu Department of Emergency Services.
However, before they arrived, the surfers “helped to apply a tourniquet to his wound,” he said by email.
The victim, described as a 58-year-old man, was surfing at a spot called Kewalos off the Kewalo Basin harbor, which is just north of the tourist mecca of Waikiki, Enright said.
The south shore beaches are home to a number of world-renowned surf breaks, including the Ala Moana Bowls, Kaisers, and Canoes, some of which have been featured in film and television depictions of Hawaiian life since the 1950s.
Native Hawaiian culture often views sharks as family guardians and teaches that the fish should be regarded with respect.
Local authorities posted signs near the attack warning beachgoers of the danger, Enright said.
“Honolulu Ocean Safety will continue to patrol the waters of the Kewalo and Ala Moana Basin after this morning’s shark bite,” it said.
The United States, led by the 16 incidents in Florida, reported the most unprovoked shark attacks in the world last year, according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida. Of the 41 US cases, one ended in death, in Hawaii.
The state accounted for five unprovoked attacks last year, the file says.
In Honolulu this weekend, high temperatures have been in the mid-80s, with 2- to 3-foot waves, according to the National Weather Service and private wave forecaster Surfline.