Police have initiated a public accident case in connection with a shark attack Tuesday afternoon in waters off a Kona beach.
A Kailua-Kona man was swimming about 100 feet off shore shortly before 1 p.m. when he spotted a shark in waters off Kekaha Kai State Park, also known as Kona Coast State Park.
As the man was swimming to shore, the shark bit him on the right thigh and right calf and then released him.
The swimmer made it to shore, where he was assisted by bystanders and a volunteer firefighter.
A Fire Department helicopter took him to Kona Community Hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. Emergency crews reported he was conscious and alert.
A 12- to 14-foot tiger shark was sighted in the area shortly after the attack.
The park was closed to the public until further notice.
State and county authorities have not identified the man, and have reported his age as 25, 28 and 29. It is not yet clear which is correct.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed Mahaiula and Kua Bay sections of Kekaha Kai State Park due to a shark incident earlier Tuesday. The park is located 2.6 miles north of Keahole airport in Kailua-Kona.
At about 12:55 p.m., the victim, a 28-year-old male from Kailua-Kona, was swimming in waters off of Mahaiula Beach when he was bit by a shark.
The county Fire Department responded and transported him via medevac helicopter to Kona Community Hospital for treatment.
The helicopter overflight also revealed what appeared to be a large tiger shark in the vicinity of the location where the victim was attacked.
DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and State Parks staff evacuated Mahaiula Bay, closed access to the bay and posted shark warning signs. Kua Bay is being evacuated as well and access closed.
Closure of these two bays will continue until at least noon Wednesday, following a flyover by county Fire Department helicopter to assess offshore waters for any presence of sharks.