WAILUKU >> A Maui woman says she was doing exercises about 30 yards off shore when she was bitten on the leg by a shark.
“I’m doing my exercises, (then) all of a sudden, I literally am propelled through the water,” Barbara Zawacki told The Maui News on Tuesday. “I went backward in the water, with the force of the shark, when he bit me.”
Zawacki, 58, spoke from her hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center. She declined to have her photo taken and covered her legs with a hospital blanket, but said the attack left open flaps of skin and teeth marks on her right leg.
“I look and I see this massive gray thing,” said Zawacki, describing the Monday attack. “For a split second, I thought it was a whale because it was so big.”
Officials haven’t determined whether it was a tiger shark or another species that attacked Zawacki near Kamaole Beach Park. Zawacki said she was able to swim to shore and warn people to get out of the water.
She was taken to the hospital, where she was given stitches on her leg. Zawacki said she was going home Tuesday.
She described the attack as a freak incident, saying the water was not murky and she was not far from other swimmers. She said the attack won’t stop her from returning to the water because fear can’t rule a person’s life.
All three Kamaole Beach Parks and Kalama and Cove parks reopened at noon Tuesday after no additional shark sightings the water or from the air, according to Edward Taomoto, the fire services chief.