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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Shark victim facing surgeries

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer

Shark attack victim Davy Sanada was in stable condition after being transferred to The Queen's Medical Center yesterday morning, a hospital official said.

A large shark bit the 34-year-old Kane'ohe resident on the left shoulder Saturday while he was spear fishing near Kupeke Fishpond on Moloka'i.

Sanada is expected to undergo several surgeries, including reconstruction of the shoulder area. He also suffered cuts to his face.

Sanada, a pipefitter at Pearl Harbor Navel Shipyard Shop 56, was with a group of 23 friends camping at a private residence when the attack occurred, said Kevin Seitz, a member of the group. The group has been getting together to fish for several years on Memorial Day and decided to take advantage of the Discoverers' Day weekend, Seitz said.

Sanada, a fourth-year apprentice who works on submarines, was described as someone who loves to golf, dive and fish.

On Moloka'i last weekend, high winds created murky water conditions and people were off everywhere fishing and crabbing, said Seitz, 54. Despite poor conditions the fishermen were able to catch papio, mullet, 'o'io and awa, and Sanada had a string of fish when he was attacked, Seitz said.

"I don't think anyone really knew he had gone out on his own because normally we dive in pairs," he said, adding that the water at high tide was four to five feet deep.

Seitz, a former firefighter, said he was the second person to reach Sanada, who had managed to climb onto the fishpond wall following the attack. Seitz said Sanada had a deep cut on his cheek and a chunk of muscle missing from his left shoulder. A firefighter was beginning to treat Sanada's shoulder wound by applying pressure under his wetsuit, and he helped by applying pressure to the facial wound while trying to comfort and reassure his friend, he said.

With the amount of blood lost, Seitz said he was fearful for his friend's life.

"I didn't want to relay that fear to him," he said. "I was trying to keep upbeat. I kept reassuring him. I wasn't going anywhere and he was going to be all right."

A rescue helicopter arrived about 25 minutes later. Sanada was taken to a fire station and flown by air ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Seitz said he learned from local residents that a tiger shark had been seen in the area for some time where Sanada was attacked. Yesterday Seitz and several friends went back into the water to retrieve Sanada's fishing gear before heading back to O'ahu in the afternoon. They found their friend's spear gun and the floater with the string of fish, but only one partially eaten fish remained, he said.

"I was thinking about (the shark) but we were a couple guys in kayaks, all good divers and we all had our three-prong (spears)," Seitz said, adding they stayed only long enough to find the gear. "Basically we went out there to get his equipment because, you know, expensive stuff."

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.