A recent string of attacks in Hawaii attributed to tiger sharks continued this week, as a 34-year-old Kailua-Kona woman was struck while surfing with a friend in North Kohala.
McKenzie Clark was paddling her surfboard in murky water near the Halaula Lighthouse on Friday, according to West Hawaii Today, when the tiger shark approached her. Clark’s friend Brian Wargo heard her scream, and watched as she was lifted out of the water by a large shark.
“I can see the dorsal fin sticking out of the water probably 3 feet high,” Wargo noted. “It’s tail was pushing the water really hard. I started paddling out to her, but the shark was carrying her away from me out to sea. Then he dropped her.”
— Sundance Beach (@SundanceBeach) October 29, 2014
Wargo estimated that the shark was around 12 feet long, according to ABC News. Though the predator missed Clark at first, its attack was far from over.
“She was being lifted out of the water, and screaming — she was being carried on the nose of the shark. I got closer — but then the shark turned and bit her again on her left hand,” Wargo said. “I saw her grab her hand and rip it out of the shark’s mouth, then she fell off the back of her board.”
As the attack continued, the shark bit into Clark’s board, and began to swim away. Clark was still leashed to her surfboard, however, leaving her at the animal’s mercy.
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“She was attached to the board and the shark was pulling her under the water,” Wargo noted. “She couldn’t get the leash off her foot. I saw the shark coming at her again, I grabbed the dorsal of the shark. I started kicking at the shark and using my board — I started punching the shark. I felt like I was going to break my hand — but the shark shuddered, and then headed out to sea.”
The incident marks the fourth attack attributed to a tiger shark in Hawaii over the last two weeks. Three separate attacks on surfers occurred over the course of a single week, as the Inquisitr previously noted, all taking place in water muddied by the passing of Hurricane Ana. Murky water is a known risk factor for ambush-style shark attacks.
After reaching shore, Clark and Wargo drove 25 miles to reach a hospital, while her hand was wrapped in a wetsuit top. Clark received 20 stitches on her left hand, and the injuries to her ring finger will require a skin graft. Her board, meanwhile, now displays the bite mark of a tiger shark, measuring 15 inches by 9 inches.
[Image: Thomas P. Peschak via National Geographic]