The U.S. Coast Guard and police in Hawaii are searching for a missing woman who may have been the victim of a shark attack. The 60-year-old woman was last seen while snorkeling with her husband about 75 yards off Keawakapu Beach on Maui Thursday, according to Fox Weather.
The husband of the missing woman called 911 at noon to report the incident, according to Dan Dennison, a spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Dennison said that the man tried to look for his wife before returning to shore, but he couldn’t find her. When asked about reports claiming that the man said he tried to fight off the shark, Dennison refused to comment.
The last time the woman was seen, she wearing a blue bathing suit and had a snorkel set with her. A piece of fabric from a bathing suit was found on the beach afterward. The Maui Fire Department and Maui Ocean Safety are working together to search both in the water and from the air, with support from Air 1 helicopter and the U.S. Coast Guard.
“I think there were some people who provided witness accounts that were on the beach, but since the possible time of this incident, there haven’t been any reports of sharks in the water,” Dennison explained Thursday afternoon. Dennison did not have information about the shark that may have been involved in the attack. As of Friday morning, before the search resumed, Dennison said authorities had not spotted anyone in the water.
Experts say a shark attack is more likely from October to December
As of today, there are shark warning signs from the Mauna Kai condominiums to Ulua Point. They will remain until at least noon Saturday. DLNR usually doesn’t release information about shark attacks until all the relevant facts are known. Dennison said that this potential encounter made them change their normal procedure. Unfortunately, Dennison could not give any details about the people involved in the incident.
The state’s Division of Aquatic Resources reported that the risk of being bitten by a shark is greater during certain months. October to December in particular are high-risk. Even though fewer people are swimming during those months, some of Hawaii’s most serious shark attacks took place then too. The last fatal shark attack in Hawaii happened on December 8, 2020. A 56-year-old surfer was badly hurt after a 14-foot tiger shark attacked him while he was surfing near Honolua Bay.
Every year, about 80 unprovoked shark attacks are reported globally. Even though they aren’t common, many people fear them. This is because of hearing of serial attacks, such as the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916. Of course, there are also horror movies like the Jaws series that promote the idea. Out of more than 489 known shark species, only three types are responsible for a double-digit number of fatal and unprovoked human attacks. These species include the great white, tiger, and bull Sharks. The oceanic whitetip has likely killed even more people who were stranded at sea. However, these deaths are not recorded in official statistics.
According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there were 2,785 verified unprovoked attacks throughout the world between 1958 and 2016, with 439 fatalities. An average of four people yearly died from bites between 2001 and 2010.