Rescuers are looking for a person who went missing after reports of a shark attack in Hawaii. According to Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources senior communications manager Dan Dennison, police on Maui got a complaint on Thursday from a man who “saw a shark swim by repeatedly” while swimming 50 yards from Keawakapu Point.
Dennison said that after spotting the shark, the guy whose identity was not released searched for his wife and returned to shore when he couldn’t find her. He confirmed that there was “an ongoing search for a person who possibly encountered a shark earlier today.”
The husband informed police that he and his wife fought the shark before escaping to safety, according to Hawaii News Now. While the man survived, his wife did not. According to the source, a swimming suit and snorkeling outfit were later recovered.
Dennison stated that the Maui Fire Department and Maui Ocean Safety personnel had started looking for the lady in the ocean and by aerial search. “At this time, they have not spotted anyone in the water,” Dennison said, adding that authorities planned to keep searching “until nightfall.” The area is closed until authorities re-evaluate the matter in the morning.
He noted that in the meantime, people should “stay clear of the area” both on land and in the water. Dennison stated that because of shark-related event policies, they cannot give any information concerning prospective victims.
“Once we have that information, we will share it with the media,” Dennison said. When asked about objects found in the area, Dennison stated that officials “could not confirm” who they belonged to. He also stated that he cannot confirm that the man’s wife is the one being sought, citing the occurrence as a “possible shark-human encounter.” The missing person was last spotted just before noon.
“You can kind of connect dots, but that’s what we would presume,” said Dennison.
There have been no other sightings of the shark since the man’s initial report, Dennison said, adding that Maui “has the most human-shark encounters of the main Hawaiian islands.”
“There’s not a lot of information to release now because they don’t know exactly what they’re dealing with,” Dennison added. Dennison went on to give expert advice on how to prevent shark encounters.
“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 said. He added that agencies have “a significant number of people” looking for the individual, stating, “This is a very fluid situation. We’re all hoping for a good outcome. The search has been going on for almost five hours now. They’ll continue in earnest for…about another hour or so.”