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Kayak fisherman killed in shark attack off Maui

HONOLULU — A kayak fisherman died Monday after a shark attack off Maui, local officials said.

Ocean Safety officials on the island received a report that a shark bit a man fishing in a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island less than 3 miles off the southwest coast of Maui that’s popular for diving and snorkeling.

A friend kayaking with the victim took him to a nearby snorkeling charter boat, which took them to shore, Maui County said in a news release.

The man died before reaching Maui. The man’s identity and details about where he was bitten and the kind of shark involved were not immediately available.

Though the attack happened far from shore, state and county officials closed beaches a mile north and a mile south of Makena State Recreation Area in southwest Maui, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Officials expect to reopen beaches at noon Tuesday.

Isaac Brumaghim knows firsthand the dangers of kayak fishing, which he said is growing in popularity. He was fishing off Oahu’s west coast in April when a camera mounted on his kayak captured footage of a 9-foot shark jumping up and chomping on the tuna he was reeling in.

Sharks are “an absolute danger, every single day,” he said. “You have to respect the fact they can bite you at any time.”

He said bait in the water can easily attract the animal.

“Just a little bit of blood, a little meat in the water, that’s all you need,” he said. “It’s like dogs out there.”

There have been eight shark attacks near Maui this year. On Friday, a Maui woman suffered nonfatal injuries in an attack.

In August, a German tourist died a week after losing her arm in a shark attack. Jana Lutteropp, 20, was snorkeling up to 100 yards off a beach in southwest Maui when the shark bit off her right arm.

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.


Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .

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