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Maui beaches reopen after woman loses arm in shark attack

By Star Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:38 p.m. HST, Aug 15, 2013

Maui County Ocean Safety officials at noon today reopened the beaches surrounding Palauea Beach on Maui, where a visitor from Germany lost her right arm in an apparent shark attack.   

The woman, about 20, was snorkeling at the beach, also known as White Rock, when beachgoers heard her cries for help Wednesday.

“She screamed and called for help,” said Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga. Beachgoers went to the woman’s aid and brought her to shore in a kayak.

The woman had been snorkeling roughly 50 yards offshore when the apparent attack occurred. The water was choppy with limited visibility, the county said.

The Maui Fire Department got the call at 4:41 p.m. Wednesday.

Responding firefighters administered first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the unconscious woman.

“Her right arm was severed right below the shoulder,” Mainaga said. The arm was not found, he said.

She was taken by ambulance in critical condition to Maui Memorial Medical Center, Mainaga said. 

There was no update on her condition today.

The woman was with a couple of friends, who did not see the attack or a shark, he said.

It was the fifth shark attack so far this year in Maui waters, where a jump in attacks was seen last year, and was the eighth attack this year statewide, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

This puts the state on pace to top 2012’s record of 11, the most attacks in the past 12 years and more than twice the yearly average of 4.75 attacks.

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