Keoni Bowthorpe

Keoni Bowthorpe
A photo snapped from shore as Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe brought Colin W. Cook into shore, after Cook had been bitten by a shark. Cook had fallen off Bowthorpe’s back, and is barely visible behind Bowthorpe’s right shoulder.
Keoni Bowthorpe
Photo courtesy of Ryan T. Foley
Keonie Bowthorpe
Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe, right, with Colin W. Cook, whom he rescued from a shark attack.

Keoni Bowthorpe rescued Colin W. Cook from a shark attack, Haleiwa, Hawaii, October 9, 2015.

Cook, 25, was surfing in the Pacific Ocean at a point about 600 feet from shore when a tiger shark about 11 feet long attacked him, severing his left leg above the knee and inflicting a severe hand injury. Standing on a paddle board in the water about 500 feet away, Bowthorpe, 33, filmmaker of Haleiwa, witnessed the attack.  He immediately went to Cook, who by then had gotten back onto his board in the bloodied water.

As he neared Cook, Bowthorpe saw that the shark was still in the immediate vicinity. When the shark approached them, Bowthorpe thrust one end of his paddle against it to push it away. Cook moved to Bowthorpe’s board but ended up in the water, and Bowthorpe then lay prone atop the board and pulled Cook onto his back.

With Cook holding to him as best he could, Bowthorpe paddled about 1,300 feet over an indirect course to shore, having to stop a few times to secure Cook. In wadable water, another man helped pull Bowthorpe and Cook to the beach. Bowthorpe and others then carried Cook to the highway, from which he was taken to the hospital.

Cook was detained there for treatment of severe injuries and was later fitted with a prosthetic leg. Bowthorpe was fatigued but uninjured.


Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe with Hawaiian Governor David Ige, who presented Bowthorpe with the Carnegie Medal on behalf of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

Carnegie Medal presentation to Keoni Bowthorpe

On behalf of the Carnegie Hero Fund, Governor David Ige presented the Carnegie Medal to Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe in November, 2016, in a beautiful ceremony at the Hawaiian statehouse.

Governor Ige reads the summary of Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe’s heroic act.
Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe, center, with his family, son Reef Keoni, wife Ashley, daughters Skye Roxa Aria and Violet Friday, and Governor David Ige at the presentation of the Carnegie Medal in the Governor’s Ceremonial Room in the Hawaii state Capitol building.

Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe and his wife, Ashley.
Carnegie Hero Keoni Bowthorpe with Governor David Ige at his Carnegie Medal presentation.