VIA – STAR ADVERTISER
POSTED: 12:50 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 01:02 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2014
A second shark encounter was reported on Maui Monday morning.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said a 58-year old stand up paddle-boarder said he felt a hard bump on the back of his board, knocking him into the water in Kahului Harbor. After he surfaced he observed a dorsal fin about six feet away, DLNR said. He was not able to identify the species of shark and it quickly disappeared. He estimates the fin was 12 inches tall. A witness, also on a paddle board, also saw the fin.
DLNR said it inspected the board and found bite marks.
It was the second encounter with a shark on Maui in three days.
On Saturday, a surfer surf site known as Freight Trains off Maalaea shoved his surf board into a shark’s mouth to fend it off. In both cases the waters were brown from storm runoff.
Kaleo Roberson of Haiku was in a group of about 20 people and holding one of his 8-year-old twins when a 12- to 14-foot tiger shark appeared, the Maui News reported
Roberson said he saw a massive open mouth and teeth a few feet from him.
“It was something you dream of on ‘Shark Week,'” Roberson said. “It was so close to me, and the mouth was so open when it came up. It was in pure attack mode, and it was just right there. I was basically in its mouth.”
Roberson slid off his board to put it between him and the shark. He then punched and kicked the predator.
“Right then, I realized I was fighting for my life, and I had my sons with me so I took my board, and I started swinging it,” he said.
His other two sons also were within 10 feet of the shark. Roberson said he was thinking of them as he swung his board.
“I don’t care if this thing bites me, but if my pride and joys are making it to the beach safe, then I’ll feed this thing my leg if I have to,” he said.
A friend, John Patao, was about 5 feet away taking pictures of his own son and other surfers when he saw Roberson fighting off the shark.
“Everyone went into survival mode,” Patao said. “The shark was attacking him and bit his board one time, and after that the shark was circling him.”
Patao said he helped Roberson get his sons to safety, and then he and Roberson swam to shore together.
“We were yelling for everybody to get in because we were worried about the kids,” Patao said.
No one was injured, but the shark left a 14-inch bite mark on Roberson’s board.
Roberson’s wife, Tiare, watched the commotion from shore. She said she prayed and screamed for her children and husband to make it to shore.
“My whole life flashed before my eyes,” Tiare Roberson said. “It was terrifying. I’m just really glad they’re all OK.”
The DLNR is advising all ocean users to stay out of murky water statewide.
Shark Attack Protocols have been initiated and DOCARE and the Department of Transportation-Harbors Division have closed Kahului Harbor waters as well as waters in one mile in each direction of the harbor. An assessment will be made Tuesday on whether to re-open.
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