A 10-year-old boy said Thursday that he kicked out at a shark to scare it off after it bit him in the waters off a Hawaii beach on Wednesday.
The boy was recovering from his injuries the day after the attack and said the shark “popped out of nowhere” at Makaha Beach Park near Oahu. State Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman Brett Anderson said the boy should be out of the hospital soon.
Officials are going to include the attack in the International Shark Database in Gainesville, Florida, as Anderson said “all evidence, including eyewitness reports, points to this being a shark bite.”
The attack was Hawaii’s seventh confirmed shark encounter of the year. The average number of shark bites per year has doubled over the past decade, but scientists say that’s because there are more people in the water, providing more opportunities for encounters. There has been an average of about nine shark bites per year over the past five years.
“I was on the boogie board just waiting for a wave and then it just popped out of nowhere and then bit my leg,” the 10-year-old told reporters Thursday at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.
He said he kicked the shark in the nose, but he wasn’t afraid.
On Thursday morning, two surfers were in the water at Leftovers Beach Park on Oahu’s North Shore when a 10-foot shark chased them onto shore, Honolulu Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said. Leftovers is the same beach where another man lost his leg when a tiger shark bit him on Oahu’s North Shore in early October.
Officials put up signs and warned beachgoers of the sighting, but surfers entered the water anyway.
Brian Keaulana, a professional surfer and son of famed surfer Buffalo Keaulana who was at Makaha on Thursday, said fishermen have been seeing tiger sharks eating pig carcasses a short way up the coast.
Enright said that the pigs were still being spotted on Thursday, prompting officials to keep warning signs posted and people out of the water.
“The boy was part of our community,” Keaulana, who used to be a lifeguard at the beach and was born and raised in the area, said. “So when he got attacked, the response was really quick and fast.”
Anderson said this is the first shark bite at Makaha Beach Park in 46 years. In 1969, a surfer was injured by a great white shark in the area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.