Rescuers are looking for a person who vanished after hearing about shark sightings in Hawaii.
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources senior communications manager Dan Dennison said in a news briefing on Thursday that police in Maui received a complaint from a guy on Thursday who “saw a shark swim by repeatedly” while he was swimming 50 yards from Keawakapu Point.
The man, whose identity has not been made public, sought his wife after seeing the shark and returned to shore when he couldn’t find her, according to Dennison.
He acknowledged that there was “an ongoing search for a person who potentially encountered a shark earlier today.”
The husband reportedly informed police that he and his wife fought the shark before attempting to swim to safety, according to Hawaii News Now. The man reached the shore, but his wife did not. Later, according to the publication, a snorkeling set and part of a swimming suit were found.
According to Dennison, the Maui Fire Department and Maui Ocean Safety personnel have started searching the water and used an airborne search for the woman.
Woman Disappears After She and Her Husband Fight Off Shark in Maui – PEOPLE https://t.co/JpUbxXOecn via @GoogleNews
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The area remains closed until officials re-evaluate the situation in the morning, according to Dennison, who also stated that officers planned to continue looking “till evening.”
On land and in the water, he advised people to “keep clear of the region” in the interim.
The procedures on cases involving sharks, according to Dennison, prevent them from disclosing any information about possible victims.
When we have that information, Dennison said, “we will release it to the media.”
When questioned about objects discovered nearby, Dennison stated that officials “could not confirm” who the objects belonged to.
The event is being classified as “a suspected shark-human contact,” and the missing person was last seen just before noon, the official said, adding that he cannot confirm that the man’s wife is the person that rescuers are looking for.
“You can kind of connect dots, but that’s what we would presume,” said Dennison.
Since the man’s initial report, there haven’t been any other sightings of the shark, according to Dennison, who also noted that Maui “has the most human-shark encounters of the main Hawaiian islands.”
Dennison continued, “There isn’t much information to give right now because they don’t know exactly what they’re dealing with.
Dennison continued by sharing advice from experts on how to keep shark encounters to a minimum.
Never swim or snorkel in the ocean alone; always swim or snorkel with a friend. “Don’t go in the water if it’s cloudy. I have no idea what the ocean conditions were in that area this afternoon.
“This is a very fluid situation. We’re all praying for a good conclusion,” he continued, adding that agencies have “a considerable number of people” searching for the person. “The search has been underway for over five hours now. They’ll continue in earnest for…about another hour or so.”