HomeOutdoorsNewsHawaii DLNR Criticizes Social Media Posts About Maui Shark Attack

Hawaii DLNR Criticizes Social Media Posts About Maui Shark Attack

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo credit: Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is now encouraging social media users to resist posting and making comments before facts are known following a Maui shark attack.

According to Kaua’i Now News, Hawai’i’s DLNR is making the request to the public after the disappearance of a 60-year-old Washington State woman. The woman was last seen snorkeling with her husband about 75 yards off Keawakapu Beach in Maui earlier this month. It was reported that a collaborative investigation by the Maui Police Department and the Land Department’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement is being conducted about the woman’s disappearance. 

A report from the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) investigating officer revealed that based on the information from the woman’s husband and another eyewitness. The woman’s disappearance has been classified as a “shark attack-fatal.” However, the Maui Police Department states in a new report that the disappearance is “miscellaneous accident-fatal.” 

Hawai’i DLNR Addresses Misinformation About the Maui Shark Attack

With the confusion between the reports, there has been misinformation about the woman’s disappearance all over social media. The DLNR addressed the situation in a Facebook post. 

“On Dec. 8 officers responded to reports of a shark attack at the end of South Kihei Road fronting Keawakepu Beach. At that time, Maui County Ocean Safety lifeguards, Maui Fire and Emergency Services personnel, along with the U.S. Coast Guard were actively searching the water for ‘a missing female, possibly the victim of a shark bite,’ according to the DOCARE report.”

The agency also reported that officers interviewed the missing woman’s husband. Who stated he encountered an “aggressive” shark shortly after entering the water to snort about 50 yards offshore. “He said he and his wife were not snorkeling right next to one another,” the agency noted. “And he could only see her from time to time. As the shark continued to circle him he continued looking for his wife and thought that she might have been diving toward the ocean floor.”

The husband also told officials that the shark swam off while he continued looking for his wife. He did this by popping his head out of the water and scanning the surface. “He did spot something in the distance and then the shark came back,” the agency stated. “And he could see something red around the shark’s gills. At that time, he said people on the beach began yelling at him to get out of the water because a shark was feeding in the area.” 

The Agency is Now Having Any of the Misinformation Concerning the Incident

The DLNR further stated that the husband’s statement I corroborated by an eyewitness on the beach. The witness said he saw a large shark feeding on something in the water. DOCARE did conclude that this was a tragic accident. The agency isn’t having any of the gossip on social media about the situation. 

“It’s unfortunate that this family’s grief is exacerbated by not having their loved one’s body recovered,” the agency declared. “But by misinformation which spread quickly on social media platforms, suggesting that this was something other than what it was. DLNR is asking people who post misinformation and conspiracy theories anonymously to stop and think about how they’d react if they were in the same situation.”