A pro surfing event in Hawaii was postponed after a recreational surfer was attacked by a shark off the island of Maui, officials said Tuesday. The 56-year-old man was admitted to a hospital for surgery, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Maui Fire Department says the victim was already on shore receiving first aid when fire department personnel arrived at the scene, CBS affiliate KGMB reported. The man was from Lahaina, a town on Maui.
Photos released by the state show a surfboard with what appears to be a bite mark that measures roughly 17 inches wide. A chunk of board just wider than 12 inches was ripped entirely from the rest of the board.
The World Surf League’s Maui Pro, which began earlier this week, was put on hold indefinitely following the incident. The league’s chief executive officer, Erik Logan, made the announcement in a video post on social media.
Authorities said shark warning signs will remain in place on either side of Honolua Bay through noon on Wednesday. The signs stretch from DT Fleming Beach Park to Punalau Beach, which is also known as Windmills.
Hawaii has recorded 171 shark attacks since 1837, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark attacks worldwide. Shark attacks are relatively rare, and the museum’s website notes, “Bees, wasps and snakes are responsible for far more fatalities each year. In the United States deaths occur up to 30 more times from lighting strikes per year, than from shark attacks per year.”
The latest incident comes just days after aby a shark off the coast of Oregon.