Hawaii Surfer Bitten ... in Eel Attack?

Officials say it might be a first in the state
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2015 10:03 AM CDT
Hawaii Surfer Bitten ... in Eel Attack?
This photo taken July 10, 2009, shows a moray eel in a coral reef near Bonaire.   (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

A surfer is recovering from serious injuries after he fell off a wave in Hawaii and was possibly bitten by … an eel. Yes, humans should apparently fear the creatures' teeth as well as their zapping ability. The 33-year-old local man was surfing at Waikiki Beach on Saturday when he felt a pain in his left foot. He reached shore, where bystanders had to use towels to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Though a rep for Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources says he's never heard of an eel attack in the state, officials found no sign of a shark and say the man's injuries are consistent with an eel bite, rather than a shark bite, per KHON2.

Though eels frequent Hawaii's coral reefs, officials are waiting to interview the man before coming to any concrete conclusions, according to the AP. In the meantime, the Ocean Safety group isn't ruling out other options, noting barracudas have also been spotted near Waikiki recently. Hours before the attack, another man was injured off Oahu's Lanikai Beach, though officials suspect a tiger shark was the culprit in that case. Witnesses say the 44-year-old was swimming with a friend 50 to 100 yards from shore when he was bitten. "Both legs, just above the ankle, were just hanging on," one bystander tells Hawaii News Now. The man was taken to a hospital in critical condition. (More Hawaii stories.)

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