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Shark attack victim's rescuer describes ordeal

By Audrey McAvoy & Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:33 p.m. HST, Aug 16, 2013

A woman who lost her arm in a Maui shark attack kept repeating that she was going to die, said the California high school teacher who jumped into the water to save her.

"As soon as we stand on the beach, we heard this blood-curdling scream," Rick Moore, 57, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., said today. "We look out and there was blood everywhere in the white water around her."

He put on flippers and swam to her, said Moore, who teaches physical education and health at Creekside High School in Irvine, Calif. "About 10 feet from her, I saw her floating on her back, with no arm," he said. "It was completely severed from her body."

The 20-year-old German visitor was snorkeling at Palauea Beach in Makena when the shark bit off her arm Wednesday afternoon.

With the bikini-clad woman's other arm around his neck, Moore backstroked about 100 yards through strong ocean currents.

"It dawned on me — I was in danger now," he said. "The shark is around me and she's bleeding. I start praying out loud, 'God, God protect us.' She said, 'I'm dying. I know I'm going to die.'"

She was starting to lose consciousness, he said.

Moore's buddy, Nicholas Grisaffi, 61, of Laguna Beach, Calif., stood in neck-high water and took the woman from Moore and carried her limp body out of the water.

"What was left of her shoulder was in my chest," said Grisaffi, who teaches homeless fourth- and fifth-graders. "I had a pure-white rash guard on" but there was very little blood on it, an indication of how much blood she lost.

The two teachers said they put the woman in a bystander's kayak, using it as a stretcher to bring her up a trail leading to the street.

The woman's three friends were in shock as Moore performed CPR.

"Pretty much everybody was out of control except me and Rick," Grisaffi said. "If we're not there, she's not saved. Nobody did a thing. They just stood there in shock, watching the blood and everything."

A police officer arrived with a tourniquet as the woman was going in and out of consciousness, Grisaffi said. An ambulance rushed her to Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Joshua Craddock, a 23-year-old from London who was sunbathing on the beach at the time, called 911. He hailed Moore's bravery.

"He was pretty heroic and selfless to dive in the water when by this stage she was surrounded by a pool of blood which we could see form the shore," Craddock said.

Moore and Grisaffi have visited the woman in the hospital and said she was in stable condition Friday. Authorities have declined to release her name.

"I just can't get the screaming out of my head," Grisaffi said. "The arm didn't bother me. At our age, we've seen a lot."

The ordeal has changed his perspective on the ocean. "I won't take risks of going too far out any more," he said.

Hawaii officials say shark attacks are unusual considering how many people are in the state's waters. There have been six shark attacks this year through the end of July, including three on Maui, according to a state database. There were 11 shark attacks in the state in 2012.

The last time anyone in Hawaii died from a shark attack was in 2004.

To reduce the risk of being injured by a shark attack, state officials urge people to swim in groups and avoid going in the ocean at dawn and dusk, when sharks may come closer to shore to feed. But Craddock said he doubts many people are aware of these warnings.

"She was a young, fair-haired blond girl on vacation and she clearly had no idea," he said.

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kentfonoimoana wrote:
This guy should be named hero of the month/year and awarded.
on August 16,2013 | 12:00PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
Totally agree.
on August 16,2013 | 03:25PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
You're a saint. I'd administer CPR to strangers until the EMT's arrive, but I only save loved ones in bloody waters.
on August 16,2013 | 03:36PM
aomohoa wrote:
He is a hero going to the bloody water, but doing CPR on a person that is still breathing and heart pumping is not the right thing to do. She was just unconscious.People just want to do something. What she needed was a tourniquet that the officer put on.
on August 16,2013 | 04:34PM
Kailuaraised wrote:
What? How do you know she was still conscious when he started CPR?
on August 16,2013 | 07:36PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT Kailua, "A police officer arrived with a tourniquet as the woman was going in and out of consciousness", IRT aomohoa, you are correct. If victim is unconscious but breathing, the heart is still pumping. CPR is detrimental to her. Since limb is severed, totally agree with using a tourniquet.
on August 17,2013 | 11:05AM
Mythman wrote:
Also don't swim where there are no lifeguards......
on August 16,2013 | 01:08PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
And ladies, don't swim when you have your period. I wonder how many women who enter the ocean know that.
on August 16,2013 | 03:27PM
aomohoa wrote:
I'm a scuba diver and I was always way to paranoid to dive then. I'm glad I'm past that worry. LOL
on August 16,2013 | 04:35PM
eoe wrote:
Also don't listen when people tell you not to swim at dawn and dusk as that is not supported by any studies or facts. In fact most attacks occur in the middle of the day.
on August 16,2013 | 01:32PM
bigserf wrote:
So many ocean safety experts with such sage advice......duh.
on August 16,2013 | 01:52PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT big, I guess everyone knows all the aforementioned advice.....huh?
on August 17,2013 | 11:06AM
aomohoa wrote:
That is what the experts say. SO I don't , but I am more cautious about going into murky water, by stream outlets and after a storm.
on August 16,2013 | 04:37PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT aomohoa, experts say that sharks bite humans by mistake. Murky water, bad eyesight, blood in the water, swimming with an open wound, cut, scrape, whatever, turtles nearby, etc.
on August 17,2013 | 11:10AM
Oio wrote:
I really feel for anyone getting bitten by anything...particularly a shark. Those teeth are scary. All kinds of reason, territorial shark, sick shark, feeding shark, dirty water, polluted water, bad luck and bad timing, women menstruating, human waste in being eliminated, wrong place and wrong time, lots of reasons to be bitten. It just a reminder, that as much as we love the sea, stuff happens so take precautions, even if you get an "odd feeling" while in the water....call it a day and get out. Just to be safe.
on August 16,2013 | 03:34PM
hon2255 wrote:
stay real close to shore, 100 yards is too too far
on August 16,2013 | 03:37PM
aomohoa wrote:
Funny, I was thinking today that should be the magic distance. I was on the North Sore today, kayaking, and I realized I was much farther out. I was glad the water was clear. I did keep my feet inside. LOL
on August 16,2013 | 04:40PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT aomohoa, I used to give the Ale Ale Kai (big catamarans) the right of way crossing the channel @ the buoy on my surfboard.Seems like I was at least quarter mile out (13.2 x 100 yards). Diamond Head surf spot seems like 1300 yards from shore. There is no magic distance. Sharks are known to come MUCH closer to shore, like up to the sand! But that's rare. If you can stand and touch bottom, Mano can come get you!!! LOL, if you're worried about sharks.....don't go in the water, period!
on August 17,2013 | 10:58AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT hon, I'm guessing you don't surf, snorkel, scuba or surf 100 yards from shore. Please don't spread paranoia.
on August 17,2013 | 10:50AM
yhls wrote:
Maui and Kauai counties need to post warning on beaches to visitors that there are large tiger sharks in these areas. It's well known by locals. This poor girl didn't have a clue.
on August 16,2013 | 08:56PM
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