12/21/2005 Jonathan Genant (Hawaii)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2005

12/21/2005 Jonathan Genant (Hawaii)

Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:46 pm

San Diego man attacked by shark off Maui

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

(12-21) 16:05 PST WAILEA, Hawaii (AP) --


A 29-year-old San Diego man was attacked by a shark Wednesday while swimming in waters off West Maui, officials said.


The man was alone when a shark bit his left hand about 200 yards off Keawakapu Beach. He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center where he was in stable condition.


Hospital spokeswoman Carol Clark said the swimmer lost a little finger and part of his ring finger.


Lifeguards closed the beach following the attack, which occurred at about 11:45 a.m., said Marian Feenstra, aquatics division chief of the state Department of Parks and Recreation.


Fire Battalion Chief Alan Pascua said a fire helicopter spotted a 10- to 12-foot tiger shark in the area immediately following the attack.


Pascua said the water was a little murky following recent rains on Maui.


It was the first shark attack in Hawaii resulting in injury since Oct. 9, 2004, when Davy Sanada was bitten while spearfishing off Molokai. Sanada, 35, suffered injuries to his face and left shoulder from what he described as an 8-foot tiger shark.


On April 7, 2004, surfer Willis McInnis, 57, was killed by a tiger shark in murky water off Kahana on Maui.


There were four confirmed reports, including three off Maui, this year of sharks biting surfboards and a kayak, but no one was injured, according to the state Shark Task Force.


Task force spokesman Randy Honebrink said records show that most shark attacks occur in November and December, though it's unclear why.


Sharks regularly swim around all islands, he said, and there's no specific area or beach where they would be more likely to be found.


However, Honebrink noted that studies have shown sharks are attracted to the rich shallow waters of the Penguin Bank between Oahu and Molokai.


"In places where there's more fish you expect to find more sharks," he said. "That's an area that's familiar to sharks."


Hawaii is home to numerous species of shark, but Honebrink said tiger sharks are usually responsible for attacks.


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Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:46 pm

Shark Attacks Man Off Maui
From Associated Press


WAILEA, Hawaii — A San Diego man was attacked by a shark Wednesday while swimming in the ocean off Maui, officials said.

Jonathan Genant, 29, was alone when a shark bit his left hand about 200 yards off Keawakapu Beach. He was taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center where he was listed in stable condition. Hospital spokeswoman Carol Clark said Genant lost his little finger and a portion of his ring finger.


Genant's brother-in-law, Josh Woodlander, said Genant was a good athlete who swam regularly and had competed in triathlons. "I guess the shark was coming at him with a big gaping mouth," Woodlander said. "We're all pretty shocked."

Lifeguards closed the beach after the attack, which occurred at about 11:45 a.m., said Marian Feenstra, aquatics division chief of the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

Fire Battalion Chief Alan Pascua said a fire helicopter spotted a 10- to 12-foot tiger shark in the area right after attack.

Pascua said the water was a little murky after recent rains.

It was the first shark attack in Hawaii resulting in injury since Oct. 9, 2004, when Davy Sanada was bitten while spearfishing off Molokai. He suffered injuries to his face and left shoulder from what he described as an 8-foot tiger shark.

On April 7, 2004, surfer Willis McInnis, 57, was killed by a tiger shark off Kahana on Maui.



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Postby sharkbait » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:46 pm

Shark Attack Survivor Talks About Encounter
Victim Says He Feels Lucky To Be Alive

POSTED: 5:24 pm HST December 22, 2005
UPDATED: 6:09 pm HST December 22, 2005

KAHULUI, Maui, Hawaii -- Jonathan Genant, 29, said on Thursday he feels lucky to be alive after a shark bit him while swimming off Maui on Wednesday.

Genant said he was swimming about 300 yards off shore when he saw the shark coming at him. Then, it happened.

"For a second, I had my arms in his jaw and when it snapped around, it was a little bit of a struggle and when he pivoted, I heard the bones break," Genant said.

He lost a pinky, part of his ring finger and a lot of blood. At first, he said he thought, "Why me?" and then realized he had to try to get away.

"I was most concerned about whether (the shark) was going to come back. You are in a panic mode. I'm losing fingers, I was bleeding all over the place and you don't know if you are going to be hit again. You are so vulnerable and if he took another hit, it would have been it," Genant said.

He said he screamed for help and he got it from nearby body boarders and people on the beach who came to his aid. He said he can't thank everyone enough from the lifeguards to the emergency personnel to the nurses and doctors at Maui Memorial Hospital who helped in his rescue and recovery.

He will leave Maui soon with the memories of the shark's humongous jaws. He said he is still coming to grips with being disfigured, but said he's grateful to be alive.

Genant may never look at the stretch of beach the same way. For years, he has gone to Maui to swim there -- most of the times alone. He said that may change.

"I'll hopefully get out there again sometime with a group maybe... you know?" Genant said, laughing.


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Postby sharkbait » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:29 pm

Shark attack off Maui costs man pinkie, tip of ring finger


By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor



Jonathan Genant, 29, of San Diego, was in stable condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center yesterday after undergoing surgery on his left hand following a shark attack off Keawakapu Beach. Genant is expected to be released from the hospital today.


BRIAN PERRY | The Maui News








KIHEI, Maui — As a former triathlete, Jonathan Genant of San Diego often takes long ocean swims when vacationing on Maui. But yesterday's workout off Keawakapu Beach was violently interrupted when a shark emerged from the deep to attack him about 200 yards from shore.

Genant, 29, lost a portion of his left hand, including his pinkie finger and the tip of his ring finger. He underwent surgery at Maui Memorial Medical Center and was expected to be released today.

Some of South Maui's most popular beaches, packed with holiday vacationers and local children fresh out of school, were closed in the aftermath of the shark attack. The coastline from Polo Beach in Wailea to Kama'ole Beach Park 3 in Kihei was expected to remain closed until noon today.

It is not known for certain what kind of shark bit Genant, but a Maui Fire Department helicopter spotted a 10- to 12-foot tiger shark close by shortly after the attack. Tigers are responsible for the majority of shark attacks in Hawai'i.

Three previous incidents of sharks biting surfboards and a kayak off Maui were reported this year, but no one was hurt, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The last fatal shark attack in Hawai'i occurred April 7, 2004, when surfer Willis McInnis, 57, was killed by a tiger shark in murky water off Kahana in West Maui.

Genant's father, Harry Genant, said the family is grateful his son wasn't more seriously hurt.

"It could have been so much worse," he said.

Jonathan Genant was swimming alone in calm, clear waters about 11:30 a.m. when he saw the shark come up from under him, his father said.

"It was huge and its jaws were wide open. He knew it was going to take a part of him," Harry Genant said. "It chomped on his left hand and he heard a snap and could see that his digit was missing.

"It was pretty terrifying."

The San Diego man used his right hand to clamp down on the wound to control the bleeding, then turned over on his back and began kicking toward shore, all the while worried the shark would return for the kill.

When Genant was within about 100 yards of shore, beachgoers were able to hear his cries for help.

Brock Smeaton of Vancouver, British Columbia, who was at the beach with his family, said he heard the man calling out and saw Genant holding his bloody hand above the water.

Smeaton said about eight or nine people entered the ocean to assist Genant, who was brought to shore on a body board. Firefighters from the Wailea Fire Station provided first aid until the injured man could be taken to the hospital.

His parents were at their Wailea condominium when they got word of the shark attack.

Throughout much of the afternoon, two DLNR watercraft patrolled the nearshore waters, assisted by a county water safety officer on a rescue craft. A Maui Fire Department helicopter scanned the ocean from above, looking for predators.

On shore, DLNR enforcement officers walked up and down the beach to keep people out of the water.

Smeaton and his family were among those reluctant to leave the 2- to 3-foot shorebreak. He said the shark attack wasn't going to spoil his family's vacation. "You can get hit by lightning just as easy," Smeaton said. "I'd be back in the water if I could be."

Jonathan Genant, who co-founded an Internet marketing firm called Better Deal LLC, visits Maui annually with his parents, Harry and Gail Genant, and other family members.

His parents are physicians in San Francisco. Jonathan arrived on Maui a day before the shark attack.

Harry Genant said Jonathan has been swimming most of his life, and although he no longer competes in triathlons, he remains active and regularly trains with 2- to 3-mile ocean swims. He said his son favors calmer waters farther from shore and away from reefs.

Swimming alone and far from shore are two things to avoid in order to reduce your chances of a shark attack, said Russell Sparks of the DLNR's Division of Aquatic Resources.

Other tips include staying out of the water at dawn and dusk, and avoiding murky water and stream mouths.

An average of three to four shark attacks occur annually in Hawai'i.

The earlier Maui incidents occurred Oct. 13, when a shark bit a surfboard about 100 yards off Honokowai; May 14, when a shark grabbed a kayak about a half-mile off North Kihei; and May 2, when a shark gnawed on a surfboard about 70 yards off Ku'au.

On Feb. 16, at Sunset Beach on O'ahu's North Shore, a shark bit a surfer's board.


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Postby sharkbait » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:27 am

Doctor, victim: Attack was definitely by shark
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer
KIHEI – San Diego Internet marketing executive Jonathan Genant knows he was attacked by a shark off Maui on Dec. 21.

So does the surgeon who helped to repair the damage to Genant’s left hand, which had the pinkie and part of the ring finger sheared off in the incident of Keawakapu Beach.

Which is why Genant is more than annoyed that some people on Maui are intent on spreading a rumor that he was the victim of a turtle, suggesting that he had been harassing the animal.

It was a shark.

“Absolutely, 100 percent, beyond the shadow of a doubt,” said Dr. Peter Galpin, a physician with as much experience treating shark bites as anybody in Hawaii.

“I have no idea how things like this get started. But I’d like to be part of a process that puts a stop to it,” said marine biologist George Balazs, who actually has been bitten by green sea turtles more than once.

Balazs is leader of the Marine Turtle Research Program at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Honolulu.

He is also the man who compiled the first thorough listing of shark attacks in Hawaii, and he is the reporter for new attacks to the International Shark Attack Registry in Florida.

So when the rumor reached him several weeks ago, he was concerned on several levels.

Scientifically, because he had already reported the shark attack to the registry, and if that was incorrect he wanted to correct it.

Second, because it impugned the character of Genant, 29, a co-founder of Better Deals LLC, an Internet marketing business in San Diego.

Third, because it was bad publicity for turtles.

Genant himself was amazed to hear the story and upset by it.

“I’m taking it a little personally, questioning, was there something about my story or something I had said (to reporters/interviewers) that didn’t sound believable, therefore causing local community to discredit my account and not accept it altogether?” he wrote Balazs.

On the other hand, Genant said he doesn’t need any more publicity, and he is getting along fine despite the wound.

He is following the shark bite news from Maui carefully, and there’s been plenty since that day in December.

Since the Dec. 22 attack, there have been at least four reports of individuals encountering sharks in waters off South Maui, with the most recent being a Kihei girl standing in shallow water at Oneloa Beach at Makena suffering a bite on her calf.

“I cannot believe there aren’t more fatalities,” said Genant, now that he knows what it’s like to be bitten.

Balazs said a Hawaii green turtle or hawksbill could bite a human or “anything else that molested it.” However, “they do not go out seeking people or other things to bite, unless the ’other things’ are their natural food sources – mainly seaweed for greens and sponges for hawksbills.”

If bothered, turtles either swim away or hide under a rock ledge.

If restrained, they can bite.

“But the bites do not shear through bone,” said Balazs. “They may take some flesh but far more often they bruise or pinch or make cuts/abrasions. They crush.”

Photographs taken of Genant’s injury before his hand was cleaned up and stitched up at Maui Memorial Medical Center clearly show that five to six inches along the side of the palm and the top half of the ring finger were sheared off. The cut along the side of the hand is not straight across, but serrated – as might be expected of a bite by a shark.

Both Galpin and Balazs say it is inconceivable that the injuries were the result of a turtle.

Genant said last week that he knows he cannot do anything about people spreading rumors, but he wants it on record that it was a shark.

“If the shark had taken anything other than part of my hand, I probably wouldn’t have been able to cut off the blood flow – as I did, using the other hand – and kick back to shore. I feel quite fortunate that it wasn’t any worse than it was and very grateful – to the shark and to fate – to still be here.”

Harry Eagar can be reached at heagar@mauinews.com.


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