By Evie Carrick
Updated: May 29, 2019

Sharks can be dangerous, but a fatal shark attack is still a rarity. Over Memorial Day weekend, Hawaii saw its first shark death in four years when a man from California was attacked while swimming off the coast in Maui.

According to reporting by The Associated Press, Thomas Smiley, a 65-year-old man who was a frequent visitor to the islands, was attacked by a shark on Saturday in the waters of Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach Park area. Smiley was swimming approximately 60 yards off the shore when he was pulled under, according to witness testimony given to the Maui police.

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A witness said that when rescuers pulled Smiley to the shore, he was missing a leg and died at the scene. Witness Allison Keller recounted the events to Hawaii News Now, “As we got closer, I saw some blood on his stomach and then I got looking a little bit more, and his wrist — it looked like the skin on his wrist was just torn off,” Keller said. “And then I got looking closer, and his entire left leg from his knee down was just missing.”

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and lifeguards searched for a shark, but were unsuccessful.

The last fatal shark attack in Hawaii was in 2015, when a snorkeler off Maui was killed.

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