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Teenager Loses Foot in Hawaii Shark Attack

The Nation

March 27, 2002|From Associated Press

LIHUE, Hawaii — Strumming a ukulele in his hospital bed, 17-year-old Hoku Aki described Tuesday how he ripped out a shark's eye to escape as it was biting off his foot.

Aki was attacked Monday while he was body boarding in murky water about 150 yards off Brennecke's Beach in Kauai. Witnesses said the youth was pulled underwater by the shark.

"I tried to open the mouth and get it off of me; that didn't work," Aki said. "I grabbed the shark's eye and ripped it out and he let me go."

The Kauai High School senior said he thought he was going to die. "I opened my eyes and I could see the shark," Aki said. "It was tossing me all over the place. I heard my leg break. I heard the bone snap."

Another shark was sighted Tuesday in waters near where Aki lost his foot, prompting officials to close beaches in the popular Poipu resort area for another day.

Two miles of beach will remain closed until at least noon today to give the shark 24 hours to leave the area, said Ernest Moniz Jr., a battalion chief with the Kauai Fire Department.

A rainstorm created the murky water conditions--the most conducive to shark attack. Conditions were similar on Tuesday.

A nurse visiting from Colorado wrapped a towel around Aki's leg and applied pressure to stop the bleeding, Kauai fire officials said. Firefighters arrived and applied a tourniquet until paramedics took over.

Aki thanked the nurse for "saving my life."

Monday's attack was the second reported in Hawaii this year.

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