Multi-agency search ends for missing woman who apparently suffered shark bite off Maui

The U.S. Coast Guard said it would continue its search until the end of the day.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 1:08 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 8:18 PM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The multi-agency search continues for a missing woman off South Maui who apparently suffered a shark bite while she was snorkeling with her husband, officials said.

However, DLNR said state and county crews ended their search around noon on Friday after failing to find the woman.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it would continue its search until the end of the day.

She has not been identified, but authorities confirmed she is a 60-year-old woman from Washington State.

First responders were called to Keawakapu Point just before 12 p.m. Thursday after the woman’s husband and other witnesses reported seeing a large shark, believed to be a Tiger shark, about 50 yards off shore.

DLNR said the woman’s husband reported that while the couple was snorkeling, he saw a shark swim by but couldn’t see his wife. The shark swam by several times before the man returned to shore.

The woman never made it, but a snorkel set and part of a bathing suit was found.

“I mean the scary thing about it, at this stage, is there is a person just totally missing,” said beachgoer Peter Gannon, who is visiting from Canada.

Shark warning signs were initially posted, but they have since been removed.

First responders searched in the water and by air, including with a C-130 and a cutter.

A spokesperson from the Coast Guard said that the search had to be called off at midnight due to strong winds affecting helicopter flight, but was resumed at first light on Friday.

Officials said winds in the area about 45 miles per hour, but crews are doing their best to continue their search for the missing woman.

“The wind channels can get pretty intense,” said USCG public affairs officer Ryan Fisher. “The search pattern is dictated by the drift patterns that we collect. The drift data that we collect from deployable material that we’ve deployed to kind of get a good idea of if something were in the water, at that time, what the drift would look like based on the wind.”

DLNR officials said there hasn’t been any other reports of sharks in the water since the incident.

This story will be updated.