Shark Bites Girl On Leg

On Monday, February 28, 2006, at about 4:30 p.m., a 15-year old girl was bitten on the right calf by an estimated 8-foot-long shark at Big Beach at Mākena State Park. The girl suffered a 12-inch wound.[i]

Air Ambulance Crashes, Killing Three

On March 8, 2006, a twin-engine Cessna-414 Air Ambulance left Honolulu to pick up a patient on Maui, but crashed into the parking lot at the business BMW of Maui. The plane apparently brushed into the top of some coconut trees and was going about 175 miles per hour when it crashed, killing all three aboard.

Dam Breaks Killing Seven

In the early morning hours of March 14, 2006, a dam broke on Kaua‘i’s Kaloko Reservoir, releasing an estimated 420-million gallons of water. The massive wall of water, mud, rocks and debris roared down Wailapa Stream and through Wailapa Valley. The raging floodwaters swept several homes off their foundations and killed seven people who were likely asleep at the time.

The floodwaters also damaged the island’s main highway, which remained completely closed for three days and then was opened only as a one-lane road during the weeks that were required to complete major repairs to the damaged highway.

An investigation was later begun to determine whether a dam spillway had previously existed, as local farmers and others claimed, and if such a spillway had been covered with dirt or altered, possibly leading to the failure of the dam during weeks of heavy rain. Also at issue is the lack of required dam inspections by the state, as well as the ignoring of reported grading violations on the land by the county.

Kaloko Reservoir was originally constructed for the Kilauea [Kīlauea] Sugar Company in 1890. (See Chapter 11, Timeline: 2006, Mar. 14 for more information.)

Shark Attacks Surfer at Leftovers on O‘ahu’s North Shore

On March 23, 2006, about 1 mile south of Waimea Bay on O‘ahu’s north shore, a woman was first bumped and then bitten on the left calf by a shark. At the time of the attack, the woman was surfing about 400 feet offshore at the surfing spot called Leftovers.

The bite left five puncture wounds in the woman’s calf, with one wound penetrating to the bone. The large spacing between the marks indicated that the shark was very large. During the attack the woman was able to see a 2-foot fin with jagged edges.

The shark swam away after the attack. Two surfers quite a distance away eventually were able to help the woman. Runoff from recent rains may have contributed to the likelihood of sharks in the area.[ii]

The woman was surfing on a 7-foot surfboard and had just caught a nice wave and was about to paddle back out to catch another wave. Conditions were glassy and the waves were about 3 feet and well-formed. The woman had just seen a sea turtle in the area, and thought the initial bump was by a sea turtle.

Man Uses Spear Gun to Fend Off Shark After Attack

On May 31, 2006 at about 1:30 p.m., a man free diving on O‘ahu’s north shore was bitten by an estimated 9 to 12-foot shark, leaving lacerations in his left forearm. He used his spear gun to fend off the attacking shark, which finally released its grip after being hit at least twice with the spear gun.

The shark attack occurred in 25-foot-deep water at the surfing spot known as Marijuanas, which is near Chun’s Reef and Leftovers. Two men about 20 yards away provided assistance, wrapping t-shirts around the wound.[iii]

Earthquakes Shake the Hawaiian Islands

On Sunday, October 15, 2006, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Hawaiian Islands, causing an estimated $200 million in damage.

The damage occurred primarily on Hawai‘i Island, although the earthquake caused significant earth movement on all of the main Hawaiian Islands, including Kaua‘i, the northernmost of the main Islands.

The earthquake’s epicenter was located west of Hawai‘i Island, and about 24.2 miles (38.9 km) deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Just minutes after the earthquake shook all of the Hawaiian Islands, a second earthquake registered 6.0 and was also felt throughout the Island chain.

The epicenter of the second earthquake was located not far south of the first earthquake. During the following days, many dozens of aftershocks shook the Islands.

The October 15 earthquakes occurred in the Earth’s mantle and not within the structure of an existing volcano (like most of the 1,000 or so earthquakes that occur annually around Hawai‘i Island).

The 6.7 magnitude earthquake was likely due to what is known as “loading” or “flexure” occurring as a result of the tremendous amount of weight the volcano above puts on the submerged oceanic crust of Earth’s lithosphere.

The 6.7 magnitude earthquake (which is the largest earthquake in the United States in 2006) did not generate a dangerous tsunami, although it did generate a tiny tsunami measuring only about 4 inches (10.2 cm) in height when it arrived at Kawaihae Harbor about 10 minutes after the earthquake.

Lifeguard Escape Technique Used on Attacking Shark

On November 11, 2006, a 29-year-old man swimming about 35 feet offshore at Kama‘ole Beach Park II in Kīhei at 12:30 p.m. when he was bitten by a shark. The man used a lifeguard technique that he had been taught to use to get free of panicked swimmers, which involves twisting away while using the feet to push the swimmer off. He used this technique to break free of the shark.

The shark attack severed a tendon in the man’s hand, a deep cut just above his knee, and two bite wounds on his upper thigh.[iv]

[i] Wilson, Christie. Shark attacks girl at Maui beach: Teenager bitten while swimming off Mākena. The Honolulu Advertiser, 2/28/2006.

[ii] Aguiar, Eloise. North Shore surfer survives shark bite. The Honolulu Advertiser, 3/24/2006.

[iii] Gima, Craig and Bernardo, Rosemarie. Shark bites spear diver: Lifeguards close some North Shore beaches after a snorkeler suffers an arm gash. The Honolulu Advertiser, 6/10/2006.

Windrow, John. Diver bitten by shark off N. Shore: Waipi‘o man rescued by pals after fighting fish with a spear gun. The Honolulu Advertiser, 6/10/2006.

[iv] Wilson, Christie. Shark attacks visitor off Maui: Vancouver man used lifeguard technique to break free and escape. The Honolulu Advertiser, 11/12/2006.