A tiger shark attacked a 60-year-old male swimmer in Hawaii’s Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area on Wednesday, sending the man to the hospital as authorities closed the beaches.
The attack took place around noon, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports, as the unidentified man swam just 100 yards offshore at the South Kohala beach. The tiger shark struck at his left arm, doing an indeterminate amount of damage. Police and firefighters cleared the water following the shark attack, and transported the victim to North Hawaii Community Hospital, where his condition was not immediately made available.
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) March 18, 2015
The tiger shark responsible for the attack was between 10 and 12-feet-long, according to West Hawaii Today, and remained in the area following the incident. Hawaii County Fire Department officials took to the air in a helicopter, and were able to observe the tiger shark as it continued to patrol the area around the beach. As a result, authorities closed all beaches from Beach 69 to Kaunaoa.
The incident marks the second reported tiger shark attack this year, after a fisherman was struck in January. The individual involved in that attack was injured while attempting to remove fishing gear from a shark he had pulled ashore, which lashed out, lacerating his lower leg.
Tiger Shark swimming at you. Photo by Alex Dawson. pic.twitter.com/XDEHyUHt1v
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Last year, scientists tagged a number of tiger sharks in the area around Hawaii, in an effort to determine how close the predators came to populated beaches. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the effort followed a spate of attacks attributed to tiger sharks, six of which occurred during 2014.
The researchers were able to determine that while the tiger sharks did range out into the open ocean, they frequented depths of less than 600 feet in coastal regions around Maui. The areas where the sharks were most often found correlated with popular beaches on Maui, though on the island of O’ahu, the opposite was true. Maui has proven to have a higher rate of shark bites than O’ahu, though researchers are still trying to understand why.
Earlier this week, video emerged of a diver narrowly escaping a tiger shark as it attempted to bite his head. Filmed at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, the clip depicted the animal likely attempting to ascertain whether the diver was prey, a common tactic that is responsible for many shark attacks.
[Image: Bret Yager via West Hawaii Today]