Officials are investigating another possible shark bite in the waters off Hawaii that left a 10-year-old boy seriously injured. Officials said Thursday they are still waiting to hear from doctors and the victim to confirm whether it was a shark bite. (A man was injured when he was bit by an eel off Waikiki less than two weeks ago.) A report from emergency personnel says the boy was treated Wednesday at Oahu's Makaha Surfing Beach for trauma "possibly from a marine animal." He was taken to a hospital in serious condition. If it was a shark that the bit the boy, it would be Hawaii's seventh confirmed shark encounter this year, state statistics show. Another man lost his leg when a tiger shark bit him on Oahu's North Shore in early October.
An off-duty lifeguard who told Hawaii News Now he brought the injured boy to shore said the boy suffered a wound to his leg about 60 to 70 yards offshore. Most shark bites this year have happened in murky water, and all have resulted in injuries. In April, a shark killed a woman who was snorkeling off Maui. Officials recorded an average of about four shark encounters per year from 2005 to 2009. Since 2010, the average has risen to almost nine per year. Still, the number of attacks is low compared with the number of people in the ocean, a local shark researcher says. "The number of people living in Hawaii and using the ocean for recreation has increased over time, and this is the single most likely reason for a higher number of shark bites in recent years," he said earlier this month. (Read more shark attack stories.)