Last updated: 12:35 PM ET, Sun October 11 2015

Shark Attack Off Oahu’s North Shore Keeping Everyone Out of the Water

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | October 11, 2015

Shark Attack Off Oahu’s North Shore Keeping Everyone Out of the Water

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The waters of the legendary North Shore surfing area off Hawaii’s island of Oahu have been empty since a surfer lost his leg to a shark Friday morning, KHON2 reported.

Family and friends told KHON that 25-year-old Oahu resident Colin Cook was near the popular Leftovers surf spot waiting for a wave when the attack occurred. Immediately after Cook noticed a school of fish jumping clear of the water, the shark attacked from below.

Relatives told KHON that Cook began fighting the animal, punching it a few times before it swam away.

KHON said the 911 call was made around 10:25 a.m.

“He swam on his own free will to another surfer who threw him onto his board and paddled him straight to shore,” Cook’s cousin Chris Webster said to KHON. A surfboard leash was used as a tourniquet on his gravely wounded leg.

Shayne Enright, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Department spokesperson told KHON, “the patient suffered critical injuries to his left leg… and he did suffer some abrasions to his hand, mostly trying to fend off the shark.”

Cook was rushed to Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition, where most of his leg was amputated, KHON said.

“During the attack, the shark got him below the knee and it took off below the knee cap, but they had to take his leg above the knee so that was a little heart-breaking,” Webster told KHON.

“I was just holding his head and trying to keep him to focus on me,” Cook’s friend John Carper said to KHON. “He kept rolling his eyes back and just looked like he was going.”

Webster said to KHON that despite the injuries, Cook is in good spirits, even joking around before going into surgery.

“He’s stable right now. He’s out of surgery. He just got off the phone with his father so he’s doing good,” Webster added.

Citing witness reports, KHON said the shark that attacked cook is 10-12 feet in length, but there is no confirmation on the type. Ocean Safety also had a second shark sighting on Friday, but aren’t sure if it was the same one that accosted Cook.

According to KHON, Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department personnel have been patrolling the waters, warning people about the attack and advising them not to enter the water. Warning signs were placed from Laniakea Beach to Waimea Bay.

An all clear will be issued if there are no sightings.  

This was the fifth shark attack for Hawaii in 2015, KHON stated. In January a man fishing in Maui was bitten on the leg; March saw a Kansas visitor bitten on the arm by a tiger shark while snorkeling at Hapuna Beach off the Big Island; in April, a man was killed by a shark while snorkeling in Maui’s Ahihi Bay; lastly, in September, a Big Island resident spearfishing at Upolu Point was bitten on the leg by a tiger shark. 


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