Two shark attacks took place in Hawaii last week, causing beaches on Oahu and Maui to be closed. The victims are recovering, luckily, but experts say Tropical Storm Flossie could be to blame for the violent attacks.
Waikiki Aquarium Director Dr. Andrew Rossiter told KHON 2 that sharks have been swimming closer to the shore since the powerful storm brought rain and sediment into the ocean. “Because there’s lots of food being carried in there, they’re coming closer the shore," he explained. "The water’s murky, they’re basically biting into anything that they sense. It’s not a good time to be in the water."
It was reported that the water was murky on the day 19-year-old Kiowa Gatewood was bitten in the leg. The storm hadn’t arrived yet but it had been raining all day, KHON2 wrote. “It’s carrying concentrations of fresh water in there and the sharks can sense what’s in the water, so they’ll be curious,” Rossiter said. “The water visibility will be bad and they’ll be basically testing out whatever’s there and if you’re in there, they’ll test you out.”
The teenager was surfing 100 feet from the shore when he saw the shark come his way. "I saw its face. It just came out of the water and I saw everything,” Gatewood told the station. “What I did was I used my left hand and I hit him on the side of his face right over here, and then it let go and then I turned right around and it swam off.”
A few days later, Evvone Cashman was bitten when she was swimming 10 feet off the shore of Ulua Beach in Wailea on Maui. "All of a sudden, out of nowhere, bam," Cashman told MauiNow.com. "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 took off swimming to the shore as fast as I could."
Right now the public infatuation with sharks is at its height with the Discovery Channel in the midst of its annual Shark Week. The station is airing specials like “Sharkpocalypse,” “Voodoo Sharks,” Top 10 Sharkdown” and even a shark talk show, just to name a few.