Shark Attack Kills 65-Year-Old Swimmer Off Coast Of Hawaii, First Reported Fatal U.S. Shark Attack Of 2019

A 65-year-old California man has reportedly been killed by a shark while swimming off the coast of Maui.

A shark surfaces in ocean waters.
Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

A 65-year-old California man has reportedly been killed by a shark while swimming off the coast of Maui.

In the first fatal shark attack of 2019 in the United States, a 65-year-old California man died on Saturday after he was bitten by a shark while swimming off the coast of Hawaii, according to a report by KHNL TV News in Honolulu. The man’s name has not yet been made public, and the beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui has been closed until at least noon on Sunday.

The Maui Fire Department reported that the man was swimming about 150 yards off of Ka’anapali Shores, a popular resort area on Maui, according to the Maui Now local news site. The man was transported to the shore on a jet ski by first responders, who attempted to receive him by performing CPR once they reached the shore.

The victim, however, was “unresponsive,” according to a NBC News report. He reportedly died at the scene.

The as-yet-unidentified tourist becomes the fourth shark attack victim to die in waters off of Maui since 2013 — but the first since 2015, according to The Guardian newspaper.

On April 29, 2015, a 65-year-old retiree, Margaret Cruse, died after she was attacked by a tiger shark while snorkeling in Kanahena Cove off of the Maui island, according to Hawaii News Now. Cruse had been snorkeling with two companions, but was separated from her group when she was attacked by the shark.

Cruse’s body was found floating face down about 200 yards off the Maui shoreline. According to reports, her face showed shark bite marks, while her arm was nearly severed by the shark’s teeth.

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In August of 2013 a German woman died off off Maui when a shark attacked her, biting off her arm. Just four months later, 57-year-old Washington state resident Patrick Briney was fishing from a kayak off of Maui, apparently dangling his right leg into the water. A shark bit the leg, and Briney died of the injury, according to the Hawaii News Now report.

Worldwide in 2019, according to the site TrackingSharks.com, there have so far been 29 incidents of sharks biting humans resulting in injuries, but only two fatalities prior to the California man killed on Saturday. Eight of those attacks were classified as “provoked,” meaning that the victim was attempting to spear-fish the shark or otherwise interact with it, causing the shark to attack.

In 2018, according to Florida Museum, there were 130 shark attacks recorded around the world, 34 of which were listed as “provoked” attacks. A total of five 2018 shark attacks resulted in the deaths of their victims, and of those five fatal attacks only one was listed as “provoked.”