(Corrects surname of victim and mother throughout)
By Malia Mattoch McManus
HONOLULU Aug 19 A 16-year-old boy surfing along
the east coast of Hawaii's Big Island was bitten in the legs by
an 8-foot shark in the second such attack in the state in less
than a week, but the teen's mother said on Monday he is expected
to make a full recovery.
The young victim, Jimmy Ulualoha "Ulu-boy" Napeahi, suffered
30 deep lacerations in the attack, which occurred while he was
surfing on Sunday with friends at Pohoiki Bay. His mother was
beckoning him to get out of the water, she said.
Claire Napeahi, speaking to Reuters by telephone from her
son's hospital room in Hilo, the Big Island's main town,
recalled that he had a plane to catch that day for a flight to
Oahu, where he was to compete in a surfing contest.
As she waved for him to come back to shore, Jimmy shouted to
her, "'One more wave, one more wave,' and that's when it
happened," she said.
His mother recounted seeing the boy's friends converge
around him in the water, and from shore she and other onlookers
"could see the shark going through the wave," apparently after
it had struck. His friends pulled the bleeding teenager onto his
surf board and quickly paddled him to shore.
"I didn't know it was him, but then everyone else stood up,
and he didn't," Claire Napeahi said. "I didn't want it to be
Jimmy was flown by helicopter to Hilo Medical Center, where
he was listed in satisfactory condition on Sunday night, said
William Aila, chairman of the state Department of Land and
He is expected to recover fully, his mother said. "He'll be
able to surf again after he heals," she said. "He's going to
recover and he's going to go back. ... Absolutely, it's been his
passion his whole life. He's been surfing since he was four."
SECOND ATTACK IN A WEEK
Jimmy Napeahi did not speak to Reuters, but when his mother
asked him how big the shark was, he could be heard in the
background replying, "8 to 10 feet." The type of shark was not
immediately known, but the teenager told his mother it was gray
Asked how she felt about sharks after the attack on her son,
the boy's mother said, "It's their territory. It's their home.
We've got to share the ocean with them."
Aila said the incident marks the ninth shark attack on a
person in Hawaiian waters this year. Last Wednesday, a shark bit
off the arm of a 20-year-old woman from Germany who was
snorkeling in Maui, he said.
Hawaii typically documents five or six close encounters
between people and sharks every year, including bites or cases
in which a shark may actually bump into or brush up against
someone, he said. Fatal attacks in Hawaii are rare, the last one
occurring several years ago, Aila said.
The latest attack occurred at one of the few areas along the
rocky Pohoiki coast that are suitable for surfing, Aila said.
Hawaiian television station KHON-TV reported that the boy was
attacked at a surfing spot called Dead Trees in Pohoiki Bay.
Beaches along the Pohoiki shore were closed to the public
after the incident as a precaution and will remain closed until
after the area is surveyed by helicopter and determined to be
safe, said Hawaii County Deputy Fire Chief Renwick Victorino.
(Reporting by Malia Mattoch; Writing and additional reporting
by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Grebler)