Maui shark bite victim: 'I am very lucky'

By Paula Akana
Published On: Aug 02 2013 06:29:41 AM HST

A California woman was bitten by a shark off Maui, and now she is sharing her experience and the lessons she learned.

WAILUKU, Hawaii -

Evonne Cashman is lucky to be alive and is vowing to get back in the water.

"I didn't see it coming and I didn't see it going," said Cashman, a Cerritos, Calif. resident.

She spoke from her hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center showing her wounds after being bitten by a shark.

"I got hit really hard and bit," said Cashman.  "Then, he let go as quickly as he bit me."

Cashman, 56, was snorkeling alone in water 10-feet-deep about 30 feet from Ulua Beach  around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.

"I started swimming and swimming as fast as I could with my fins and hands and I could tell my hands were bleeding but I could feel on my back," said Cashman.  "I just knew I needed to get help as fast as I could."

Cashman has stitches to her face.  She believes her mask helped protect her face from further damage.  She has stitches to her hands and stitches and staples to her back.

A friend describes two 4-to-5-inch-long cuts along Cashman's back -- one wrapping around her neck.

Cashman says she saw a big turtle before the attack.  She says it was a lesson learned, but a little too late.

"The bad part I've learned now that after a couple of days after a storm, you should wait to go in the water," said Cashman.  "It was rather choppy and it was rather murky.  I could see the bottom without any problem, but there was lots of debris."

Cashman continued, "I am very lucky he decided he didn't like me and he let go right away."

The retired school teacher says she believes there is a reason for everything, and says the experience won't keep her out of the water.

"Going back in the water, I know it won't happen this trip.  We go home on Tuesday, but I think I'll probably go back in sometime because I don't want to be afraid of the water," said Cashman.

The stretch of shore closed due to the shark bite, from Polo Beach to the area fronting Mana Kai Maui Resort, was reopened at noon on Thursday.

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