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Swimmers bitten by shark, eel in Hawaii

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Posted at 6:52 AM, Oct 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-19 07:04:07-04

After authorities in Hawaii reported two shark attacks on the same day on the island of Oahu, they have changed their opinion about one bite. It may have come from an eel.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said an attack happened Saturday morning, when a 44-year-old man was swimming between the small island of Mokulua and Lanikai Beach on the windward side of Oahu.

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Enright said the victim was transported to a local hospital with extensive injuries to his feet. He was listed in critical condition.

In another incident off the popular tourist area of Waikiki, a 33-year-old man was bitten Saturday evening. CNN affiliate KHON reported he was bitten on the left foot and was hospitalized in serious condition. Later EMS officials said the bite was “consistent with an eel bite.”

Honolulu Ocean Safety also warned of barracudas in the area.

In Saturday morning’s incident, the victim was swimming with another man about 50 to 100 yards off shore. Enright said several kayakers assisted in the rescue.

Witnesses told CNN affiliate KHNL that they heard someone in the water shouting “911” and waving a paddle. Lanikai resident Mike Dilks and his friend Joey Montano told the affiliate they called police and helped pull the man out of the water.

“(His) injuries were pretty extreme, both legs, just above the ankle were just hanging on,” Montano told the affiliate. The men also said that the victim was pale and unresponsive before Honolulu EMS arrived.

Officials did not identify the species of shark involved in that attack, but witnesses told KHNL it was a 7-foot tiger shark.

Hawaii is home to approximately 40 species of sharks. The tiger shark, which can reach up to 16 feet in length, has been called “the garbage can of the sea” because of its wide variety of prey, according to the state’s shark website.

A fact sheet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the tiger shark is one of the top sharks involved in unprovoked fatal attacks throughout the world and is the leading attack species in Hawaii.