Hāpuna Beach and Kauna'oa Beach (Maunakea Beach) in South Kohala reopen Tuesday afternoon (July 14th) after a brief closure following a shark sighting earlier in the day.
Published by: HIRSC - Nevada (Henderson) and Hawaii Island (Holualoa) Team
Update # 2:
The waters at both Hāpuna and Kauna'oa Beaches were reopened at 12:00 pm Tuesday afternoon (July 14th) following a shark sighting report in the area Tuesday morning that temporarily closed both beaches.
After a further investigation of the surrounding area between Hāpuna and Kauna'oa Beaches, determined no further sightings of the shark originally spotted in the waters of Hāpuna Beach earlier in the day.
No reports of bites or encounters with the shark were reported.
A HIRSC Moderator who was Hāpuna Beach at the time of the sighting reported that Ocean Safety Lifeguards at Hāpuna Beach were patrolling the area and warning patrons to stay out of the water following the sighting reported just before 10:00 am. Ocean Safety Jet Ski Team was also patrolling the waters and also stopped by him in the water to warn him of the sighting and to head back to shore as a precaution until the all-clear was given.
Luckily, not many people were in the water at the time and Lifeguards at Hāpuna Beach said the shark was described as a tiger shark approximately 8 to 10-feet in length was spotted in the bay near Westin Hāpuna Beach Resort and later was swimming in waters near Kauna'oa Beach, where Resort Security and Jet Ski Team also warned patrons there to stay out of the water until the all-clear was given.
Original Update at 10:30 am Tuesday morning:
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) Ocean Safety Lifeguards responded to investigate a report of a shark sighting in Hapuna Bay near the Westin Hāpuna Beach Resort Tuesday morning (July 14th).
The initial report came in at 9:59 am Tuesday morning and HFD Ocean Safety Lifeguards at Hāpuna Beach and Jet Ski Team for West Hawaii responded to the area approximately 30 yards offshore of Hapuna Beach.
Upon further investigation, HFD Ocean Safety Jet Ski Team confirmed the sighting of an 8 to 10-foot tiger shark offshore of Hapuna Beach and also spotted swimming in waters approximately 10 yards offshore of Kauna'oa Beach.
HFD Jet Ski team was continuing to monitor the area, while Ocean Safety Lifeguards and Resort Staff at Mauna Kea Resort were in the process of getting patrons out of the water at Hāpuna Beach and also at Kauna'oa Beach as a precaution due to the sighting.
Ocean Safety Lifeguards posted warning signs at both beaches and beaches will remain close for the next two hours (per HFD Protocol) pending a flyover by HFD Chopper 2 of the area scheduled for 12:00 pm Tuesday afternoon.
Any further updates will provide them as they become available.