3 tiger sharks spotted in search for missing swimmer off North Shore
During a search for a swimmer reported missing off Laniakea Beach Park on the North Shore, the Honolulu Fire Department's Air 1 helicopter spotted at 7:30 a.m. today what appeared to be a figure floating roughly 300 to 400 yards offshore of Papailoa Beach (approximately 1.5 miles in the Haleiwa direction of Laniakea Beach Park).
Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city’s Emergency Services Department, said the pilot was able to observe three large tiger sharks about 12 feet to 15 feet in length "exhibiting aggressive behavior" in the immediate area. Cheplic said that shortly after the shark sighting, the floating figure disappeared from view.
Lifeguards have posted shark-warning signs and are trying to keep people out of the water one mile in each direction. Signs will be up until noon tomorrow.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said the fire department's search is still on from the air.
"We're still using the helicopter only to do aerial survey of the waters where we last sighted a body this morning at 7:30 a.m.," he said.
Seelig confirmed it was a human body that was found and it was the one where Cheplic reported the sharks were seen circling.
The man was reported missing at 4:55 p.m. yesterday, Cheplic said. Lifeguards and the fire department then deployed search crews.
The man was described as a visitor in his mid-30s, Seelig said. He was wearing black shorts. A female companion of the man reported him missing.
Ocean conditions in the area were rough, with easterly winds in the 15 to 20 mph range with gusts to 40 mph, Cheplic said. Surf heights were in the 4- to 7-foot range, he said.
The Coast Guard also launched a Dolphin helicopter yesterday to join the search.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Coast Guard at 842-2600.