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Maui shark attack closes beaches

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 5, 2013 at 9:30 AM   |   Comments

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Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Beaches on the Hawaiian island of Maui reopened for the weekend after two shark attacks in a week sent people to the hospital and the stretches of beach were closed for several days.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources examined the water in a two-miles stretch from Polo Beach Park to Mana Kai Maui Resort near Kihei and Wailea Thursday and determined it was safe to reopen.

Evvone Cashman was swimming Wednesday morning in about 30 feet from shore in 10-foot-deep water when she was bitten.

“I must have had my hands up in front of my face. I think my head was above water, if I remember correctly,” Cashman said. "I don’t know because it happened so fast. I didn’t see him coming. I didn’t see him leave. He just came and hit me hard and bit me hard and I just took off to the shore as fast as I could."

Cashman, 56, had a 15-inch bite from her neck down to the middle of her spine, on her chin and both hands.

The emergency room doctor who operated on her said, based on the bites, the shark may have been as big as 25 feet long.

“I got hit really hard and bit and then he let go as quickly as he bit me. And then I just started swimming to shore as fast I as I could, yelling ‘help’ the whole way,” Cashman said. “I still can’t believe that it happened."

The first attack occurred Sunday afternoon when a local surfer was attacked by what he thinks was a tiger shark off Oahu's White Plains beach.

“I was sitting on my board, when all of a sudden I saw this shark come out of the water and grab my leg,” said Kiowa Gatewood, 19, who underwent surgery on his left knee and upper calf. "From there, I had this instinct to like, hit it with my left hand and then it let go and turned around and swam away.”

Gatewood said the attack wouldn't keep him out of the water.

There have been at least 10 shark attacks in the past year in Hawaii.

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