By Wendy Osher
Jana Lutteropp, the 20-year-old German woman who had her arm severed in a shark attack incident at Maui’s Palauea Beach last week, died on Wednesday, Aug. 21, hospital officials confirmed.
In a statement released on Wednesday by Jutta Lutteropp and Julia Broeske, mother and sister of Jana, family members said:
“Jana fought hard to stay alive. However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today.
Jana was a very beautiful, strong, young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way.
We appreciate all the support from the Maui community, as well as the prayers and thoughts from around the world and in Germany.
We especially want to thank the wonderful caregivers and everyone at Maui Memorial Medical Center.”
Hospital officials say the family requests that any donations be made to the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation in memory of Jana Lutteropp.
The attack was reported at around 4:41 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, while Lutteropp was snorkeling about 50 yards from shore. County officials say the conditions were choppy with limited visibility.
In the wake of the incident and other shark incidents in island waters, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the launch of a shark study next month off Maui following an “unprecedented spike” in the number of shark bite incidents in recent months.
The incident comes on the heels of a separate incident in which a shark bit an unmanned board about a quarter mile offshore of Kaʻa Point near Kanahā Beach in Central Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 13. No one was injured in that incident.
And prior to that, a shark attack was reported on Wednesday July 31, in the Ulua Beach area of South Maui. During that incident, a California woman was treated and released from the hospital after suffering bite marks to her face and torso.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources has a list of tips for “Safety Dos and Don’ts” relating to water safety and sharks.
***Editor’s note: The previous fatality from a shark attack in Hawaiʻi was in 2004, when a man was attacked while surfing in Maui waters. The incident was reported at 7:13 a.m. on April 7, 2004, 100 yards from shore at Pōhaku Park in West Maui. According to the hawaiisharks.org website, the incident occurred in 10 feet of water, described as turbid conditions. Authorities say injuries from the incident were consistent with a tiger shark bite.