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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 11, 2003

Shark concerns close Kona parks

By Zenaida Serrano Espanol
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i County Civil Defense officials closed the Kahalu'u and White Sands beach parks in Kona yesterday after a 20-year-old man suffered leg injuries from a possible shark bite in waters off Kailua.

The Big Island man suffered multiple cuts and other injuries to his right lower calf down to his heel, according to Hawai'i County Fire Department officials. The injuries were described as not serious.

The man and a woman were swimming in calm waters off a shoreline fronting 78-6626 Ali'i Drive, north of Kahalu'u Beach Park, when he apparently was attacked.

He walked out of the water on his own and, with the assistance of a friend, walked about 100 feet to the nearest road, officials said.

The Fire Department received a 911 call at 12:50 p.m. and medics from the Keauhou fire station arrived at the scene shortly after 1 p.m. and bandaged the man's wounds.

He declined to be taken by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital and, instead, chose to have friends drive him there, officials said.

A helicopter from the South Kohala fire station later flew over the shoreline to look for sharks, but officials said they didn't find any.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will conduct further surveillance of the shoreline today.

The beaches will be closed until further notice, officials said.