Shark bites Homer man visiting Maui

A Homer man said he is fine after being bitten by a shark last Thursday off the west coast of Maui, Hawaii. Andrew Haas, 53, suffered a cut to his leg while snorkeling. A friend took Haas to a medical clinic and then the clinic called an ambulance to take him to Maui Memorial Medical Center.

At about 1:30 p.m. Nov. 13, Haas reported snorkeling in about 20 feet of water when he saw what appeared to be a 5-foot gray shark, said Clarence Yamamoto, Maui branch chief for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Haas felt a bump and then pain to his leg. He was able to swim to shore.

Yamamoto did not identify Haas by name and he was identified as the victim through other sources. Haas confirmed in an email that he was the victim and was fine, but declined to talk further about the incident.

The attack happened off what locals call the Old Airport Beach, in the Ka ’anapali area of West Maui. Yamamoto said DNLR officials closed the beach a mile in either direction. The beach stayed closed until noon Friday, when DNLR officials determined no other sharks had been seen and it was safe to reopen the beach.

Yamamoto said in general it’s preferable to swim at Hawaii beaches with lifeguards. Swimmers should avoid murky water and stay out of the ocean after storms that might stir up silt from runoff.

According to the DNLR Division of Aquatic Resources, there has been only one other shark attack reported in Hawaii for 2014, a nonfatal attack in July where a person suffered a cut to a foot. In 2013 there were 12 nonfatal and one fatal shark attacks. Most attacks happen in October.