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Recent shark attacks in Hawai‘i
23, 1999 — A 51-year-old visitor from Wakefield, R.I., Laurie Boyett,
suffered a deep gash to the buttock in an attack off of Kona Village Resort
on the Big Island.
1, 1999 — A 16-year-old surfer, Jesse Spencer, suffered severe cuts
to his right arm in the first recorded shark attack off Kona, off Old Kona
Airport Park on the Big Island.
21, 1999 — A shark bites Hilo surfer Griffith Yamaguchi on the leg
at Honoli‘i, a popular surf spot about two miles north of Hilo, also on
the Big Island.
attacks man off Maui
By Christie Wilson, Neighbor Island Editor
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Maui — A visitor from France was critically injured in a shark attack on
Maui’s most popular windsurfing beach yesterday.
Jean Alain Goenvec, 53, of Marseilles, was windsurfing at Kanaha Beach
around noon in turquoise water a mile off the north shore beach when he
was bitten on the leg. He was brought ashore and taken by ambulance to
Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition
last night with a severe wound to one of his calves.
Maui County water safety officials immediately closed beaches along the
coast from Kanaha to Baldwin Beach Park and posted "shark sighting"
warning signs. Kanaha, adjacentto Kahului Airport, remained closed today.
It was the second time in less than a week that a Maui beach has been closed
because of concerns about sharks. During the weekend, D.T. Fleming Beach
Park in West Maui was closed after a 15-foot tiger shark was observed prowling
Hawai‘i averages two to three shark attacks each year. Officials with the
statewide shark task force last year were concerned about three attacks
on the Big Island in less than six months but found nothing to indicate
there were more sharks in Hawai‘i waters.
Only Goenvec saw the shark that attacked off Kanaha. One of his companions,
Michel Barlaud of Cannes, France, was on the beach when the windsurfer
was brought to shore. Barlaud said Goenvec told him the creature was 12
to 15 feet long.
American Airlines pilot John Sincerbeaux, 39, who likes to spend his brief
Hawai‘i layovers windsurfing at Kanaha, was enjoying the brisk trade winds
on his sailboard when he saw Goenvec in the water waving his arms.
"I saw this guy way out signaling for help," Sincerbeaux said.
"He was laying on his board, and I sailed right up to him. I thought
the sail came off his board, but he told me he was just attacked by a shark."
The pilot sailed back to shore and notified water safety officer Joe Perez
of the situation. Perez launched his rescue ski and sped out to Goenvec.
Perez said the windsurfer was fully conscious and had used one of his sail
lines as a tourniquet in an attempt to stop the flow of blood from his
massive wound. Goenvec was able to cling to the sled attached to the back
of Perez’s rescue ski and was towed ashore.
Neither Perez nor Sincerbeaux said they saw sharks swimming in the area.
In fact, Perez said that in the seven years he has been posted at Kanaha,
he has yet to see a shark.
"Some of the windsurfers have said they’ve seen sharks when they sail
far out there, but they never come in," Perez said.
Barlaud described Goenvec as an expert windsurfer. The two men are on Maui
for a month’s vacation with their wives and have been windsurfing at Kanaha
almost every day since arriving. They were planning to leave Aug. 25.
"When we windsurf, we can fall in the water, even if we are expert,"
Barlaud said in explaining what happened to his friend. When asked if he
would continue to windsurf at Kanaha, he replied: "I don’t know."
Other windsurfers at Kanaha yesterday were more nonchalant about the shark
attack. "It’s something a bit unexpected," said Chris Peroutka
of Vienna, Austria, as he packed up to head to a windsurfing beach on the
leeward side of the island. "It won’t stop me (from windsurfing),
but I’ll be more wary."
Robert Stadler of Bavaria, Germany, was at Kanaha with his family and was
just getting ready to launch his windsurfing rig when he heard about the
shark attack. Stadler, who has been coming to Maui for 10 years, said he
wouldn’t hesitate to go out in the ocean once the beach is reopened.
"You always think about it when you’re in the water, but I think that’s
like real life — if you get on the road you can also get killed,"
Sincerbeaux also said he wouldn’t be deterred from sailing the waters off
Kanaha. "It won’t keep me from it, but I’m sure I’ll be thinking about
Maui County Chief of Aquatics Marian Feenstra said yesterday’s incident
shows the importance of equipping beach lifeguards with rescue skis and
sleds so they can respond quickly to emergencies. It would have taken much
longer to bring Goenvec to safety if officials had to rely on the Department
of Fire Control to launch its rescue boat from Kahului Harbor, she said.
© COPYRIGHT 2000 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co.
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