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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 6, 2006

Shark sightings close beaches

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

City ocean safety officials yesterday closed two beaches in Makaha because of shark sightings.

The first closure, at Makaha Beach, was made about 10:30 a.m. during a heat of the Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic because of a reported shark sighting, said Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Lt. Kelly Krohne. Competition resumed 45 minutes later.

Officials later saw a 12-foot tiger shark behind the Hawaiian Princess at Makaha Beach condominium and time-share and closed Lahilahi Beach about 1:30 p.m. for the remainder of the afternoon, Krohne said.

It was not known if the shark at Lahilahi was the same one at Makaha Beach, Krohne said.

Lt. Christine Serania of Securitas, which provides security services at the Hawaiian Princess, said the shark at Lahilahi was first sighted by a beachgoer about 12:45 p.m., swimming between some divers and the reef about 40 yards offshore.

Lahilahi Beach is not staffed by city lifeguards. City officials posted signs warning the public of a shark sighting. "There were people on the beach and divers in the water so closing it was a good move," Serania said.

The shark returned about 45 minutes after the first sighting while city officials were there, Serania said. It left and came back a third time.

"I've been here five years and I've heard of shark sightings but it's the first time for me," Serania said.

The last reported shark attack on O'ahu was Feb. 16, 2005, when a shark bit a surfer's board off Sunset Beach.

Two people were injured in recent shark attacks off South Maui. Last Monday a shark bit a 15-year-old Kihei girl on the leg at Makena State Park. On Dec. 21 a San Diego man lost part of his left hand when a shark bit him off Keawakapu Beach in Kihei.

Reach Rod Ohira at rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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