A 65-year-old tourist from California died Saturday in an apparent shark attack as he swam off the coast of western Maui, authorities said, the first fatal attack there since 2015.
The County of Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety responded to a witness report in the morning with a helicopter and jetski to locate the man and bring him to shore. Rescuers performed CPR, but he was unresponsive and declared dead at the scene. His significant injuries were consistent with a shark attack, KHON2-TV reported.
The weather was clear and seas calm at the time of the apparent attack.
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There have been six attacks so far this year in Maui, which is a “hot spot” for attacks off Hawaii, expert Michael Domeier told KHON2. Despite Saturday’s tragedy, the chances of being attacked — or killed — by a shark are minuscule, he emphasized.
Snorkeler Margaret Cruse was killed by a tiger shark off Maui in 2015 after becoming separated from friends. Hers was the third fatal attack in Maui waters since 2013.
Sharks kill about six people per year on average worldwide, according to figures from the International Shark Attack File, which tracks attacks. Four people were killed in unprovoked attacks in 2018; only one of those deaths occurred in the US. Most US attacks occur in Florida.