The 56-year-old man from Lahaina was in Maui's Honolua Bay when the shark attacked

By Joelle Goldstein
December 10, 2020 03:22 PM
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The surfboard with the shark bite
| Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Facebook

A man has died from his injuries after he was attacked by a shark in Hawaii, according to local officials.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced in a statement on Facebook that the 56-year-old man from Lahaina was "paddling out from the old ramp" in Maui's Honolua Bay on Tuesday when the incident unfolded.

As shown in terrifying photos posted by the DLNR, the shark took a massive bite out of the man's surfboard.

The attack left the man with injuries that caused him to be transported to a local hospital and admitted for surgery, according to the post.

His death was later confirmed in a tweet by the World Surf League (WSL), which was just one day into hosting a surf competiton in the area, and by The Star Advertiser, which cited a spokeswoman from the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

The surfboard with the shark bite
| Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Facebook

"The WSL has learned that Tuesday's victim of the shark attack at Honolua Bay has tragically passed away," the WSL wrote. "Our thoughts and hearts are with the victim's family and friends as well as the entire Maui surfing community."

A spokesperson for the Maui Memorial Medical Center did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In a Facebook post, the DLNR said it was unclear if anyone else was in the water at the time of the incident and noted that Hawaii's Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) said the "water clarity was good."

The surfboard with the shark bite
| Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Facebook

DLNR officials also acknowledged that the attack occurred while WSL was hosting a Women's Professional Surfing Competition, but confirmed the surfer was not involved. The Star Advertiser reported that the man was only a recreational surfer.

"The organizers of the event voluntarily suspended the competition, as did the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), which had issued a Marine Ocean Water Event (MOWE) permit for it," the DLNR wrote in the post.

The surfboard with the shark bite and missing piece
| Credit: Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources/Facebook

The WSL later revealed in a tweet on Wednesday that organizers had made the decision "not to continue running the remaining heats at Honolua Bay" and were working on alternate locations in Hawaii so the other surfers could still compete.

In addition to suspending the surf competition, DLNR officials said temporary shark warnings were put up on both sides of Honolua Bay from DT Fleming Beach Park to Punalau Beach.

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The incident marks the first shark death to occur in Hawaii's waters since May 2019, according to a shark incidents list by the DLNR.

The last fatality occurred in Maui, Honokōwai, which is less than five miles away from Honolua Bay, while the victim was swimming approximately 120 yards from shore, the list stated.

The most recent shark attack happened on Sept. 6 in Puakō, Kapuniau Point while someone was snorkeling about 100 yards from shore. The 2020 victim sustained lacerations to left ankle from the attack in “turbid” waters, according to the list.