Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hawaii: Washington Resident, 57, Dies from Shark Bite After Fishing in Kayak Off Maui

According to http://www.news.com.au, a kayak fisherman, Patrick Briney, 57, of Washington state, died after being bitten from an unidentified shark off Maui earlier this week.

Although the victim's fishing partner applied a tourniquet and sought help from a nearby charter boat, and subsequently rushed him to shore, he was later pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. 
 
Maui County Ocean Safety officials received a report that a shark had attacked a man fishing in a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island less than five kilometers off the southwest coast of Maui that is popular for diving and snorkeling.

The victim was fishing with artificial lures to attract bait-fish, a news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources reported. The Maui County Police Department identified the kayak fisherman as a Washington state resident. 

COMMENT: Though the attack happened far from shore, the state advised the public to stay out of the water.

Unfortunately, there have been eight shark attacks near Maui this year and thirteen statewide. On Friday (November 29), a woman suffered nonfatal injuries in another Maui attack.

"We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui,'' said department Chairman William Aila Jr. "That's why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights'' as to why attacks are increasing.

Over the last 20 years, Hawaii has averaged about four unprovoked shark incidents per year, the state said.

In August 2013, Jana Lutteropp, 20, a nanny who was taking a vacation break before returning to her home in Germany,  was snorkeling up to 90 meters (300 meet) off a beach in southwest Maui when a shark bit off her right arm. The young woman died a week later after losing her arm in a shark attack. 

Before Lutteropp's death, the last shark attack fatality in Hawaii was in 2004, when a tiger shark bit Willis McInnis' leg while he was surfing in Maui.

Although kayak fishing is a popular sub-sport these days, as one who has fished waters all over the world, I strongly discourage kayak fishing in all salt water, as you never know when a fish you're reeling in will attract the attention of a large shark three to six times your size.

A few other tips:

1. Never swim ALONE;

2. Avoid swimming alone during early morning hours or late in the day;

3. If you're new to a beach area, particularly in salt water, always ask lifeguards and first responders about the presence of sharks;

4. Obey "no swimming" flags; and

5. Learn about shark behavior before entering salt water.