Three beaches closed after woman, 51, suffers 'serious' shark bite just 100 feet from shore
MAUI, HAWAII: A woman was "seriously" bitten by a shark, following which authorities had to close three Maui beaches. The French woman, 51, was swimming, or possibly snorkeling, in the water about 100 feet from the Maui coast in Hawaii when she was attacked by a shark.
Officials said the unnamed woman suffered a "serious" bite at Paia Bay at around 4:10 pm on Saturday, September 3. Beachgoers brought her back to shore before emergency services arrived at the scene and helped her, The Sun reported. She was rushed to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.
Baldwin Beach Park, Lower Paia Beach Park, and Kuau Bay Beach Park have been closed since then. They are supposed to be reopened at 7 am on Monday, September 5. Warning signs were put up along the beach after the attack.
A series of horrifying shark bites were reported in the days leading up to the latest incident involving the French woman. A teenage girl's leg had to be amputated after a shark attack in late June. The incident took place as she was scalloping with her brother. Another woman was attacked by a shark, which bit her arm just feet away from her eight-year-old grandson along the coast in South Carolina. She had to get hundreds of stitches following the incident.
Lifeguards in Long Island saw an increase in shark sightings in the last two years. One beach lifeguard from New York, Cary Epstein, explained how he noticed more shark sightings at the beach in the last two years than he did in his entire career, spanning as many as 25 years. Lifeguards often capture shark sightings using drones.
"Our minds were blown," Epstein said, according to phys.org. "I started finding sharks. A lot of them." In July, New York Gov Kathy Hochul urged state agencies to increase their surveillance after five people on Long Island beaches were bitten by sharks over the course of two just weeks.
Researchers have now turned to new technology to safeguard sharks and humans. "It's kind of like the perfect storm for a cleaner, better, more thriving ocean," Epstein said. "We're just kind of changing with the times and using technology to our advantage to most importantly help keep the people safe."
In the wake of such attacks, Marine ecologist Dr Neil Hammerschlag told The Independent that people should avoid swimming at times when sharks could assume they are prey, such as night or in murky waters. "It can be hard for a shark to tell the difference between your hand or a fish,” Hammerschlag said.
Swimmers and surfers are also advised to avoid areas where there is a lot of fish. "A fish that gets caught on a fishing line and is bleeding and struggling is a dinner bell to the shark," Hammerschlag said. "Many sharks seek out places where people fish in the hopes of catching an easy meal."