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DLNR to begin shark study due to increased incidents in Maui waters

August 29, 2013
Maui Weekly

The Maui News - A 20-year-old German visitor died Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Maui Memorial Medical Center a week after a shark bit off her right arm while she was snorkeling about 50 yards offshore at Palauea Beach Park in Wailea.

Jana Lutteropp had been on life support and in "very critical condition" at the hospital.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources officials were unable to speak to Lutteropp to determine the type and size of shark, and there were no witness reports to help identify the shark's species, said Deborah Ward, DLNR spokeswoman.

In an email, Ward said the state's practice is to investigate and document shark incidents, including victims' injuries and their medical condition.

The attack on Lutteropp followed a couple of recent shark incidents on Maui in the past several weeks:

Big Beach in Makena was closed for two hours on Sunday, Aug. 25, after a lifeguard spotted a 14-foot tiger shark.

On Aug. 13, a shark bit into a kitesurfer's drifting board off Ka'a Point near Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului. There were no injuries.

On July 31, a snorkeler was attacked about 125 yards off Ulua Beach in Wailea in turbid water. The victim suffered puncture wounds to her torso and lacerations to her right hand and chin.

Before Lutteropp's death, the last fatal shark attack in Maui waters occurred in 2004 in Kahana.

There have been eight attacks statewide this year and 10 in 2012. Hawai'i usually sees only three to four attacks each year.

DLNR has announced plans for a two-year study of tiger shark movements around Maui, amid what officials called an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012.

 
 
 

 

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