Council Honors Man Who Saved Victim of Shark Attack
by Dave Smith
A former lifeguard was praised today by members of the Hawai`i County Council for bravery for saving the victim of a shark attack in lower Puna.
Jimmy Ulualoha “Ulu Boy” Napeahi was sitting on his surf board near the Pohoiki boat ramp on Aug. 18 when he was attacked from behind by what was described as an 8-foot grey-colored shark.
The attack left Napeahi, a 16-year-old member of the Puna Surf Team, with severe lacerations to his lower body.
While most of the others in the water quickly left the water, Dallas O’Shaughnessy swam over to Napeahi and helped him back to shore.
The 34-year-old former lifeguard then took the leash from a surfboard and used it as a tourniquet to slow the bleeding.
Members of the council as well as Napeahi paid tribute to O’Shaughnessy during a meeting in Hilo.
With family members of both looking on, Zendo Kern, the councilman who represents the Pohoiki area, presented O’Shaughnessy with a certificate honoring him for his “unselfish act of kindness and heroism.”
“You saw that Ulu Boy was in distress,” the certificate said in part. “With selfless urgency, you swam out to Ulu Boy despite the risks of being attacked by the shark as well.”
“Your altruistic actions and compelling compassion is truly an inspiration to our community,” it said. “You are highly commended for your heroic response to saving the life of another at the risk of your own.”
Kern, a surfer himself, was filled with emotion as he presented the certificate. They were soon joined by Napeahi, who thanked O’Shaughnessy for saving his life.
Napeahi is recovering from the attack that required hundreds of stitches and several surgeries and plans to be back in the water next month.