Two tourists dive into ocean to save woman attacked by shark
The waters off Palauea Beach, also known as White Rock, was a bloody scene yesterday afternoon.
"As we were walking up to the beach we heard this scream, this blood-curdling scream out in the water," said tourist Rick Moore, of California.
Moore says he then heard someone yell "shark attack!" He grabbed his fins and started swimming to the 20-year-old woman he saw about 75 yards out. He said he was scared that the shark might still be around.
When he reached her, he was shocked.
"All she had hanging out on her right arm was her bone, and she was in and out of saying these words, 'I'm dying, I'm going to die.' I kept saying 'No you're not, you're not, I'm going to get you to shore, I'm going to save you,'" said Moore.
Saving her life soon became a team effort.
"I went out in about neck-deep water. As soon as he got to me I was able to grab his arm. And he was able to still hold on to her and I pulled them up to waist-deep water," said Nicholas Grisaffi, visiting from California.
Rescuers say the victim, a German tourist, lost so much blood she was going in and out of consciousness. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The attack makes two shark bites on Maui almost back to back this week.
Statewide, there were eleven shark bites last year, six of them on Maui. This year there have already been eight, with five on Maui.
Researchers are now taking a closer look at Maui waters to figure what, if anything, may be drawing sharks there.
"The questions are: Is there anything different around Maui? The habitat is different, there are several islands and they are connected with shallower water depths than other islands, so maybe that's affecting shark behavior," said Russell Sparks with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Marine biologists say the recent attacks don't necessarily imply any different or heightened shark-bite patterns. And they remind us that say there are ways to lessen the odds of getting attacked.
"Don't be out there by yourself, be in groups, at least pairs, don't go out in dirty, murky water," said Sparks.
More tips from marine biologists: Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed, and try not to wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry.
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