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Man fishing in kayak off Maui dies after shark bites his foot

 

A kayak fisherman died Monday off Maui after a shark bit his dangling foot, officials said.

Maui County Ocean Safety officials received a report that a shark attacked a man fishing in a kayak between Maui and Molokini, a small island less than 3 miles off the southwest coast of Maui that's popular for diving and snorkeling.

The victim was fishing with artificial lures to attract baitfish, a news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said.

His fishing partner tied a tourniquet on the man and sought help from a nearby charter tour boat. The boat took them to shore, and the man was then taken to a hospital, the state said. It's unclear when he was pronounced dead.

The man's identity and the kind of shark involved were not immediately available.

Though the attack happened far from shore, the state advised the public to stay out of the water a mile north and a mile south of Makena State Recreation Area in southwest Maui.

There have been eight shark attacks near Maui this year and 13 statewide. On Friday, a woman suffered nonfatal injuries in a Maui attack.

"We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui," said department Chairman William Aila Jr. "That's why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights."

Over the last 20 years, Hawaii has averaged about four unprovoked shark incidents per year, the state said.

In August, a German tourist died a week after losing her arm in a shark attack. Jana Lutteropp, 20, was snorkeling up to 100 yards off a beach in southwest Maui when the shark bit off her right arm.

Before Lutteropp's death, the last shark attack fatality in Hawaii was in 2004, when a tiger shark bit Willis McInnis' leg while he was surfing in Maui.

Isaac Brumaghim knows firsthand the dangers of kayak fishing, which he said is growing in popularity. He was fishing off Oahu's west coast in April when a camera mounted on his kayak captured footage of a 9-foot shark jumping up and chomping on the tuna he was reeling in.

Sharks are "an absolute danger, every single day," he said. "You have to respect the fact they can bite you at any time."

He said bait in the water can easily attract the animal.

"Just a little bit of blood, a little meat in the water, that's all you need," he said. "It's like dogs out there."

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