Woman Is Swimming Near The Beach When A Seal Attacks Her For Reasons We Can Understand

ABC News

Some people fear swimming in the ocean—and perhaps for good reason. A 60-year-old woman swimming just off Kaimana Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii one recent afternoon was brutally attacked by a monk seal—and for no good reason.
Officials with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) who were investigating the incident say that the woman didn’t do anything to provoke the seal, named Rocky—she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The attack occurred around 8:30 in the morning, when the woman’s husband was recording her swimming from the 12th floor of their condo. In the video, it seems like initially the seals were making their way toward the beach. However, they suddenly went back into the water toward the woman and attacked her not long later.

“My wife had a swim cap on, and her head was in the water when both seals appeared. She could not hear 50 or so people on the beach screaming for swimmers to get out of the water. She then stands up and hears the people screaming and waving at her,” her husband explained.

It was horrifying for him—he thought she was going to be eaten alive. Even as she was getting pulled to the shore, there was no guarantee she was okay.

“I’m thinking she’s going to die, by the time I get down to the beach. When I got there, three rescuers, including one in an outrigger canoe were bringing her to shore, while the seals were swimming toward them again,” he said.

It was, of course, just as terrifying for the woman, who said she was not able to sleep that night (or her husband). “Neither of us could sleep last night,” she recalled. “Every time I closed my eyes, I was seeing the mother seal’s mouth.”

As a teacher, the woman said it hit even more home for her. “I’m a teacher and I care a lot about the environment and wildlife. I teach conservation to my students. I’ve collected discarded fishing hooks and brought them to shore and three years ago I saw a sea turtle entangled in fishing line and reported it,” she said.

It’s actually a felony to try and provoke a monk seal, though the investigation did conclude the woman wasn’t at fault. However,  Ann Cecil, a longtime photographer of wildlife at Kaimana Beach, says she constantly sees people trying to disturb the seals.  

“Sometimes they try to sneak across (the roped off sections of the beach). There’s a short cut on the other side,” Cecil explained.

To hear more about the seal attack, to see real footage from the attack, and to hear how she’s doing now, check out the video below.

What would you do if you were in this situation?