A man who lost his wife in a horrific shark attack while on holiday in Hawaii has revealed grim details about the moment she was taken.
The couple, who were visiting Maui from the US state of Washington, were snorkelling about 45 metres off Keawakapu Point on December 8 when the man spotted an “aggressive” tiger shark.
The man told authorities the pair weren’t snorkelling next to each other at the time and he was desperately trying to find his 60-year-old wife as the shark continued to circle him.
“He told officers the shark swam off while he continued looking for his wife by popping his head out of the water and scanning the surface,” a statement from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources [DLNR] said.
When the shark returned, he noticed something near its mouth.
“He did spot something in the distance and then the shark came back, 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.”
A witness on the beach, which is a popular tourist area with large hotels along the shoreline, told authorities he saw a shark feeding on something in the water.
The witness had noticed the couple snorkelling earlier and started scanning the water looking for them to warn them of the shark when he saw the “shark’s large mouth continuing to feed on something in the middle of the red cloud in the water”.
He saw the husband and yelled at him to get out of the water, but couldn’t see the woman, DLNR said. The witness then called emergency services.
The woman’s snorkel and parts of her swimsuit were found, but no remains have been located, local media reported.
Four days later on December 13, a man was injured in an encounter with a 12-foot tiger shark at ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay on the Big Island, causing the beach to be closed.
'Hurtful' conspiracy theories emerge online
News of the attack quickly spread online, with wild theories behind the woman’s death being shared.
The misinformation suggested a shark was not behind the woman’s disappearance, prompting DLNR to plead with people to stop posting alternate theories online.
“It’s unfortunate that this family’s grief is exacerbated not only by not having their loved one’s body recovered, but by misinformation which spread quickly on social media platforms, suggesting that this was something other than what it was,” the department said.
“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. Social media can either be a powerful tool for sharing information or a mouthpiece for tremendously hurtful and inaccurate comments directed toward people who are dealing with a tragedy.
“Family members and friends often see these posts. Imagine if it was someone you knew and loved and how you’d feel?”
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