Swim At Your Own Risk: Hawaiian Teen On The Mend

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hawaiian Teen On The Mend

19-year-old Tonga "Piu" Loumoli is still recovering at after being impaled by what HE says was a barracuda. Tonga was night diving off Kahana Bay late Thursday night when a four-foot-long fish charged into his stomach. The fish left behind a six-inch-long gash and a tooth.

Marine expert Craig Thomas said he has never heard of a barracuda charging into a swimmer. He said it seems more likely that Loumoli was impaled by a needlefish. But Loumoli, who has been night diving since his freshman year in high school, is adamant that he was attacked by a barracuda.

His fishing companion said he saw the fish clearly and agreed it was a barracuda. The tooth could solve this mystery. Loumoli was reported in serious condition in the hospital's intensive care unit where he was being treated for a serious liver injury. He is on a machine to help his breathing and cannot talk.

But he did scribble a note to his mother and sister saying, "I'm going to quit diving."

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