VIDEO: Fatal Shark Bite Incident Claims Life of Maui Woman
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xnN4VhD4AE /]
By Wendy Osher
***UPDATE: 7:40 a.m. 4/30/15, Maui Police have since confirmed the identity of the victim as Margaret C. Cruse, 65, of Kīhei, Maui. Police say despite lifesaving efforts, Cruse sustained fatal injuries consistent with a shark attack. The official cause of death is pending an autopsy report.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed a section of shoreline near the surf spot known as “Dumps” due to a fatal shark encounter involving a female victim, authorities tell Maui Now.
The beach was closed at ʻĀhihi Kīnaʻu at around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, and state crews have since extended the closure to an area stretching from La Perouse Bay to Mākena State Park or “Big Beach.”
Shortly before 9 a.m., firefighters received a call for an unresponsive female pulled from the water, said Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto.
According to department reports, Wailea firefighters arrived at 9:12 a.m. at the popular “Dumps” surf spot, about a mile south of Big Beach, at Mākena State Park. Paramedics and firefighters began lifesaving efforts; however, the woman, a 65-yr-old Kīhei resident, did not survive, said FSO Taomoto.
“Injuries found on the female victim’s upper torso, suggests she was attacked by a shark. So far, there are no reported witnesses of the shark attack. Snorkelers came upon the unresponsive female, floating face down in the water about 200 yards off-shore and pulled her from the water. The victim reportedly was snorkeling with two other friends and at some point separated from the others. She was alone when she was found,” said Taomoto in a department press release.
Ocean Safety crews on rescue watercraft cleared the water of swimmers.
The incident comes following two fatal shark incidents in 2013 that included: the fatal injury of 57-year-old Washington State visitor, Patrick A. Briney in December 2013; and the death of German visitor, Jana Lutteropp in August 2013 at Maui’s Palauea Beach in Mākena.
Confirmed shark bite incidents reported in Maui waters include the following encounters as documented by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on their Hawaiʻi Sharks website:
- 2015/01/27, 3:30 am, Maui, Pali scenic lookout. M. Pollard suffered lacerations to lower left leg. Considered a provoked incident due to fishing activity. Reef shark, species unknown, length 4 feet.
- Nov. 13, 2014: A 50 year old Homer, Alaska man, snorkeling in the ocean off of Kahekili “Airport” Beach in the Kāʻanapali area of West Maui, reported being bitten by a shark at around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014.
- Oct. 22, 2014: A Kīhei woman who was standup paddle boarding approximately 200 yards offshore in 6 feet of water at Waipuʻilani Beach Park reported that a tiger shark knocked her into the water and bit the tail portion of her board.
- Oct. 20, 2014: a 58-year-old man was stand up paddle boarding at Kahului Harbor when a shark reportedly bit the man’s board.
- Oct. 18, 2014: a surfer fended off a shark attack at Māʻalaea. In that incident, park officials say a 12 to 14 foot shark bit the man’s board.
- July 16, 2014: 5:20 p.m. at Pāʻia Bay, 200-250 yards from shore in 15 to 20 feet of water. A swimmer reported being bitten by a 6 to 7 foot reef shark and sustained lacerations to his left foot.
- 2013/12/02, 10:20 a.m., Maui, Mākena, approx 900 yards from shore. P. Briney was fishing from a kayak in 100 feet of clear water and suffered fatal injuries including a severe deep laceration and loss of tissue on right calf. Considered a provoked incident due to activity.
- November 29, 2013, at Keawakapu Beach: Involved a female victim who sustained non-fatal injuries.
- October 31, 2013, at Ka’a Point in Central Maui: A kite surfer suffered injuries to his right leg and calf in an apparent shark attack incident about 300 yards offshore.
- October 23, 2013, off of Kukona Place in Waiehu: Shane Mills of Maui suffered a laceration to his lower back and left thigh in an apparent shark bite incident.
- August 14, 2013, at Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock in Mākena: Jana Lutteropp, a 20-year-old German woman had her arm severed in a shark attack incident and died a week later on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
- July 31, 2013, at Ulua Beach in Wailea: Evonne Cashman of California suffered puncture wounds to both surfaces of right side of torso and lacerations to right hand while swimming approximately 125 yards from shore.
- February 21, 2013, at Kā’anapali, Honokōwai: A surfer reportedly suffered lacerations to their right leg after an encounter with a reef shark approx 100 yards from shore in six feet of water, according to state data.
- February 21, 2013, at Pāʻia Bay: A reef shark reportedly bit the rail of a foam surfboard while J. Lansky was surfing approximately 75 yards from shore in 5 to 8 feet of water, according to the state data.
***Please check back for details which will be posted as soon as they become available.