Woman loses arm in Maui shark attack

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A shark attack on Maui has left a woman fighting for her life after a shark bit off her arm.

In a span of two weeks, two people have been bitten by sharks, and another had her kiteboard chomped on.

At about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, a 911 call came in on Maui that a woman was attacked by a shark while snorkeling in Makena.

The 20-year-old visitor from Germany had been in the water 50 yards off shore from a beach known as White Rock. Two friends and a kayaker helped the woman to shore. She was not breathing and had lost a lot of blood.

“We found the victim on shore, began first aid and CPR, and continued until medics came on scene,” Maui Fire Department Chief Lee Mainaga said.

She was rushed to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.

First responders said the water was choppy with limited visibility when she was attacked. Her friends heard her cries for help.

“They said they heard her scream for help, turned around, and they did not see anything,” Chief Mainaga said.

County officials closed a two-mile stretch of shoreline from Makena Beach Resort to Mana Kai Resort. Lifeguards teamed up with Maui Fire Department to put up a helicopter and fly the coastline looking for the shark.

This is the fifth shark attack on the Valley Isle in recent months.

On Tuesday, a shark bit a kite surfer’s board at Kanaha Beach. On July 31 at Ulua Beach, a snorkeler suffered injuries to her body, hands, and face from a shark attack. On Feb. 21 at Honokowaia, a surfer was bit on his leg. That same day at Paia Bay, a shark bit down on a surfer’s board.

So far this year, there have been a total of eight shark incidents statewide.

A Big Island swimmer suffered injuries to their right leg in June and a surfer in January was also bit.

On Oahu at White Plains Beach last month, a 19-year-old surfer had a shark bite down on his left leg.

The surfer, Kiowa Gatewood, has a long road to recovery at home.

“The bite was here and in another spot, so the stitches go all the way down and stops and then goes again,” Gatewood said.

The shark also left behind its teeth marks on his surf board.

“It knew I wasn’t food because it let go and swam away. That was the best thing it could have done because it could have been worse,” Gatewood said.

On Thursday, Ocean Safety will check Maui beaches. If no shark is spotted, they may decide to reopen beaches by the afternoon.

Last year, there were 11 shark incidents. In 2011, the state recorded three shark incidents.

The shoreline from first entrance to Makena State Park up to Keawaula beach, including Kihei small boat launch ramp were closed Wednesday.

The area was reopened to the public at noon Thursday.

For more information on Hawaii shark attacks, visit this website.

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