INJURED – 14 August 2013 – Palauea Beach, Makena, Maui, Hawaii – snorkeler attacked
A 20-year-old German woman, Jana Witteropp, was snorkeling in 15- to 20-foot-deep water off Palauea Beach in Makena, Maui, Hawaii when a shark bit off her right arm below the shoulder. The incident occurred around 5pm on Wednesday, 14 August 2013.
It was unclear what type of shark was responsible for the attack.
A witness – Rick Moore, 57 – who was on the beach at the time told media “we heard this blood-curdling scream”.
“We looked out and there was blood everywhere in the white water around her.”
He put on his flippers and swam out to her. He said when he was “about 10 feet from her, I saw her floating on her back, with no arm. It was completely severed from her body.”
“All she had hanging out on her right arm was her bone, and she kept 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.’”
ABC News reports he put her other arm around his neck and did backstroke back to the beach – about 100 metres away.
“It dawned on me — I was in danger now. The shark is around me and she’s bleeding. I start praying out loud, ‘God, God protect us.’
“She was starting to lose consciousness.”
“I started crying out to God and I got this burst of strength,” said Moore, who is also a pastor. “I swam toward the shore.”
His friend was waiting in neck deep water and helped Moore take the woman out of the water with the use of a bystander’s kayak which they used as a stretcher to carry her up a trail leading to the street. She was drifting in and out of consciousness.
Another witness called 911. A policeman arrived with a tourniquet. And then an ambulance took her to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.