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South Kohala Information Update for July 24th, 2021

Shark sighting leads to the closure of two popular Hawaii Island beaches in South Kohala Saturday morning (July 24th).

Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with HFD Ocean Safety Division Lifeguards and Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) responded to a report of a shark sighting in the area of Hāpuna Beach State Park Recreation Area in South Kohala Saturday morning (July 24th).

The initial sighting was reported at 9:51 am Saturday morning and HFD Ocean Lifeguards from Hāpuna Beach along with HFD Crews from the South Kohala Fire Station, HFD Chopper 2, and DLNR - DOCARE Officer responded to the scene at Hāpuna Beach State Park.

Ocean Safety Lifeguards spotted the shark swimming inside the waters of Hāpuna Bay. Following the confirmed sighting, Lifeguards immediately closed the waters of Hāpuna Beach and advised all beach patrons to exit the water until the all-clear was given following an aerial survey scheduled for 11:15 am Saturday morning. Lifeguards also posted warning signs at the beach.

HIRSC Moderator from Waikoloa and Kamuela was at Hāpuna Beach at the time of the sighting and reported the shark to be roughly 5 to 8 feet in size, however, was unable to tell the species of the shark.

HFD Chopper 2 later responded to the area and began an aerial survey of the surrounding waters near Hāpuna Beach. Chopper 2 later spotted the shark approximately 500 feet offshore of Waialea Beach (Beach 69). Following the sighting by Chopper 2, HFD Crews from the South Kohala Fire Station responded to the scene and also cleared the waters of Waialea Beach of beach patrons as well. DLNR - DOCARE Officer also arrived at the scene and posted warning signs at the beach.

Chopper 2 continued with the aerial survey and surveillance of the shark, which was last seen heading back into deeper waters away from both beaches. However, DLNR and Lifeguards are keeping both beaches closed until another aerial survey is completed at 2:00 pm Saturday afternoon and all-clear is given to safely reopen both beaches.

Please follow our HIRSC Facebook Page for the latest updates on this sighting.

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