Just when surfers and swimmers in Hawaii were beginning to feel safe in the water again, there comes news of yet another shark attack.
Roddy Lewis, 35, a Maui resident, was paddling his surfboard Sunday at a spot known as Second Bay off a remote part of the island, when a shark estimated at 12-14 feet bit him on the legs and dragged him backward.
Lewis reached back and punched the shark in the head. It released its grip and disappeared. A bleeding Lewis made it to the beach and used the leash attached to his surfboard to make a tourniquet.
He was taken by ambulance to Maui Memorial Hospital, where he is in satisfactory condition with 8- to 10-inch cuts on his right leg, nursing supervisor Elaine Slavinski said Tuesday.
Lewis is the first known victim of a shark attack off Maui since Martha Morrell was killed by a large tiger shark while snorkeling with a friend off Olowalu on Nov. 26, 1991.
But there have been three known attacks--one of them fatal--off the North Shore of Oahu since last Oct. 22, when surfer Eric Gruzinsky had a chunk bitten from his board while he waited for a set off Laniakea. A shark task force subsequently hunted and killed several large tiger sharks.
Randy Honebrink, a spokesman for the task force and employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said it has yet to be determined whether the attack on Lewis will prompt another series of shark hunts.
Honebrink added that Lewis was surfing in murky water as the sun was setting in an area where shark sightings are not uncommon and that, in a sense, he tempted fate.
"It was in a remote area and conditions were not favorable (for entering the water)," Honebrink said. "He was basically doing what we're telling people not to do."