A woman was hospitalized after she was attacked by a shark off the coast of Hawaii on Tuesday morning.
The victim, who has not been identified, was swimming about 500 yards offshore near Kukio Resort Club House in North Kona around 8:50 a.m. local time when she encountered the shark, according to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The woman was part of an ocean excursion group of 17 people, eight were on paddle boards and another six were in canoes. Only two women were in the water at the time of the attack, the department said.
A jet ski operator notified the group that a tiger shark was in the area, and the woman had an encounter with the animal shortly after, initial reports say. She was transported to a nearby medical facility and is expected to recover, the extent of her injuries were unclear.
As is standard after a shark encounter, warning signs were placed on the beach for one mile in either direction from the incident, officials said. The signs will stay up until 12 p.m. local time the day after the encounter. Shoreline access from Kehakai State Park/Kua Bay and from Kukio, Four Seasons, and Hualalai resorts remain closed
The DLNR asks beachgoers to make sure they are with other people whenever they enter the water and don’t stray far from lifeguards and other safety personnel.
While many sharks move onshore to feed at night, officials say that tiger sharks are known to bite people at any time of day and advise swimmers to avoid entering the water if they have open wounds or are wearing shiny clothes or jewelry.
“People say to swim slowly back to shore, but what is that going to do? Swim to shore as fast as you can. A shark that means to eat you will keep coming,” Larry Cahoon, professor of biology and marine biology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, said. “You need to call for help. People who survive all but the least damaging shark attacks got immediate help from others.”