Maui Shark Attack, Woman Loses Arm: Snorkler In Critical Condition After Shark Bites Below Shoulder

By Danny Choy on August 16, 2013 12:13 PM EDT

Great White Shark
Great White Shark (Photo: Creative Commons)

A Maui shark attack occurred just off the coast of Palauea Beach at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. A German woman, about 20 years old, was snorkeling when the shocking encounter occurred.

Due to the choppy water conditions, visibility was limited at the time. Thankfully, bystanders on the shore heard the woman shriek and quickly responded. A kayaker placed the victim on the watercraft and brought her to land. According to Maui Fire Department fire services chief Lee Mainaga, the Maui shark attack severed the woman's right arm below the shoulder. The arm could not be found.

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The young German woman received first-aid treatment and CPR before paramedics arrived to rush her to Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment. The Maui shark attack victim was in critical condition, but the hospital spokesperson did not release further information of the woman's condition on Thursday.

Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward said that it is not clear exactly what type of shark was responsible for the attack. Bystanders that rushed to the Maui shark attack victim's aid did not see the animal.

"We will try to speak to the victim when she is cleared to speak with us," Ward said.

Tiger sharks are responsible for most of the reported shark attacks on human beings. There have been a total of six shark attack incidents in Hawaii this year. Three incidents occurred off Maui. There were a total of 11 reported shark attacks in Hawaii last year.

Fatal shark attacks have not occurred in Hawaii since 2004. A tiger shark attacked Willis McInnis and tore off his leg when he was surfing just 100 yards from a Maui beach. McInnis eventually died from excessive blood loss despite the efforts of bystanders to preserve his life.

Maui authorities warn beachgoers to avoid entering the waters at dawn and dusk as some shark species may move to shallower waters near the beach during that time of day.

Maui county officials did not reopen the beach following the Maui shark attack until noon on Thursday. Lifeguards and firefighters made sure to survey the waters before deeming the 2-mile stretch safe for swimming.

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