Rescuers are searching for a woman who disappeared off the coast of Maui after reports of a shark sighting.
Witnesses tell officials the incident happened about 50 yards from shore. https://t.co/9e2RVUFtrd
— Cleveland 19 News (@cleveland19news) December 9, 2022
According to PEOPLE, police were called on Thursday after the woman’s husband “saw a shark swim by repeatedly.” The two were snorkeling 50 yards from Keawakapu Point. When the man returned to the water, he was unable to locate his wife and returned to shore.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources senior communications manager Dan Dennison has confirmed that there is an “ongoing search” for the woman who “possibly encountered” the shark.
The Search & Sighting
According to Hawaii News Now, the missing woman was allegedly bit by the shark while the couple was snorkeling. The husband and wife attempted to fight it off. And the husband successfully swam back to shore.
The woman never made it, yet a snorkeling set and a piece of a bathing suit were later found.
First responders arrived at Keawakapu Point just before noon. The Coast Guard and state DLNR officers joined them and searched for the woman from the air and by water.
Woman Missing After Shark Attack In Maui https://t.co/tx88RRuJqX
— 9ja Breed (@9ja_breed) December 9, 2022
According to Dennison, the missing woman was not located.
At this time, they have not spotted anyone in the water.
Authorities were able to search until sundown on Thursday. And are expected to resume their efforts once daybreak arrives on Friday.
The Area Is Now Closed To The Public
Shark warning signs have been posted, closing the area to the public.
BREAKING NEWS | Emergency crews are responding to a reported shark attack in waters near the Kihei area on Maui, Thursday afternoon. https://t.co/c3ZlgJF74Y
— KITV4 (@KITV4) December 8, 2022
Beachgoers have expressed their fear for the missing woman.
I mean the scary thing about it, at this stage, is there is a person just totally missing.
According to Hawaii News Now, there have been no further shark sightings since the incident occurred. Authorities are also working to determine what type of shark was involved in the initial attack.
The missing woman’s identity has not yet been released. In addition, authorities have not confirmed whether the snorkeling set and bathing suit that washed to shore belonged to the woman.
Dennison added that “there’s not a lot of information to release now” because authorities “don’t know exactly what they’re dealing with.”
How To Avoid Shark Encounters
According to the communications manager, Maui “has the most human-shark encounters of the main Hawaiian islands.” Dennison went on to advise the public on ways to avoid encounters with one.
Don’t go in the water if it’s murky. I have no idea what the ocean conditions were in that area this afternoon. Don’t go in after dark, before sunrise. Always swim or snorkel… in the ocean with a companion.
He added that there is a “significant number of people” looking for the missing woman. And authorities are “all hoping for a good outcome.”