News Column

Maui Visitor Killed in Shark Attack

December 3, 2013

Gary T. Kubota, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

shark
Great white shark (file photo)

Dec. 03--State conservation officials are investigating the death Monday of a kayak fisherman who was bitten by a shark in South Maui waters.

Patrick A. Briney, 57, of Stevenson, Wash., was kayak fishing with a friend when he was bitten on the right leg and apparently died from severe bleeding.

Shark warning signs were posted from Makena Landing to Big Beach, pending further review today.

Briney was the second person to die from a shark attack on Maui this year.

German visitor Jana Lutteropp, 20, received fatal injuries Aug. 14 at White Rock.

It's the eighth shark attack in Maui waters and the 13th in the state this year.

William Aila, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the fatal attacks on Briney and Lutteropp involved a single bite to the limbs that unfortunately caused massive bleeding.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Aila said he can't explain the spike in shark attacks on Maui, but that the state is conducting a study to determine the movement and habits of sharks in the Maui area.

The $186,000 study that began in late August is expected to take two years and is tracking tiger sharks tagged with acoustical and satellite tracking devices.

Right now, he said, there is nothing to support that a shark-culling program is needed.

Briney was fishing about a half-mile off Little Beach in Makena when the attack occurred at 9 a.m. Monday, authorities said.

A friend helped Briney get to a charter tour boat, which took him to the boat ramp in Kihei, but he died from his injuries after reaching shore, authorities said.

A kayak fisherman within a quarter-mile of where Briney was fishing said he saw two tiger sharks swimming in the area, said Maui resident John Meriales.

Meriales, a kayak fisherman himself who was fishing farther offshore, said that before the attack, Briney was dangling his legs off the kayak, trying to catch bait fish, such as opelu and moana, in waters about 100 feet deep.

Meriales said kayak fishing has become a growing sport on Maui and elsewhere over the last five years.

Meriales said the attack on Briney has prompted him to take a break from fishing around Makena and also reconsider dangling his legs off his kayak.

"I guess I'm not going to do that anymore," he said. "This was kind of shocking."

Isaac Brumaghim, whose website, Aquahunters.com, promotes kayak fishing, said he was saddened by Briney's death.

"It has touched us all," he said.

Brumaghim said it's the first incident he's aware of in which a kayak fisherman has been killed by a shark, but the sport is inherently dangerous.

"There's not too many sports where there's an animal predator that can eat you," he said.

Brumaghim himself had a close call with a shark on April 7 while fishing two miles off the Waianae Coast, when it leaped out of the ocean near his kayak to pursue a fish.

The chase, caught on Brumaghim's camera and posted on YouTube, has received 11 million views.

"It was a very, very instantaneous moment, a dangerous moment," he said.

"This (Briney's shark attack) just brought to light how lucky I was that day."

Six other shark attacks on Maui in 2013 include a woman snorkeling Friday in waters off Keawakapu, an attack upon a surfer at Paia Bay on Feb. 21, another surfer at Honokowai on Feb. 21, a snorkeler at Ulua Beach on July 31, a swimmer at Waiehu on Oct. 23 and a kite surfer at Kanaha on Oct. 31.

In the last 20 years, Hawaii has averaged about four shark incidents a year, according to the state.

There were no shark attacks in 1998, one attack in 2008 and an unprecedented 10 in 2012, the state said.

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Original headline: Visitor is killed fishing off Maui



Source: (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser