Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

German tourist who lost arm to shark attack in Maui dies

Jana Lutteropp becomes first fatal shark attack victim in Hawaii since 2004 and second in 21 years; death comes a day after state announced plans to study tiger shark movements around Maui for two years

janamerica

Jana Lutteropp. Photo from Lutteropp’s JanaAmerica blog via U.K. Daily Mail

A 20-year-old German tourist whose arm was severed by a shark while she snorkeled off Maui died Wednesday, a week after the attack.

Jana Lutteropp had been on life support at Maui Memorial Medical Center where hospital spokeswoman Carol Clark released a statement from the victim’s mother, Jutta Lutteropp, and sister, Julia Broeske.

“Jana fought hard to stay alive,” the statement said, according to the Associated Press. “However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today.”

The last time someone died from a shark attack in Hawaii was in 2004, when a tiger shark bit a surfer in the leg. The last fatal shark attack before that was in 1992.

Lutteropp was attacked, presumably by a tiger shark, about 100 yards off Palauea Beach at the resort community of Makena. It occurred just before 5 p.m. in choppy conditions.

Risking his own life, Rick Moore, 57, a high school teacher and pastor from Laguna Nigel, California, swam out to the screaming Lutteropp, tried to calm her and swam her back toward shore where his friend Nicholas Grisaffi, in neck-high water, carried her the rest of the way. A policeman placed a tourniquet on her shoulder to stem the blood flow, but she had lost a lot of blood.

tigershark

Generic image of a tiger shark, believed to be the species to have attacked Jana Lutteropp off Maui. Hawaii officials plan to study tiger shark movements around Maui after an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

“She was in and out [while] saying these words, ‘I’m dying, I’m going to die,’ and I kept saying to her, no you’re not,” Moore said. “We’re going to get you to shore. We’re going to save you.”

While waiting for paramedics, Moore said they began slapping her face trying to get her conscious and then he started doing artificial respiration trying to revive her.

It was reported on Friday morning that Lutteropp remained on a respirator and was unresponsive.

“Jana was a very beautiful, strong young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way,” said the family statement.

“We appreciate all the support from the Maui community, as well as the prayers and thoughts from around the world and in Germany. We especially want to thank the wonderful caregivers and everyone at Maui Memorial Medical Center.”

Moore and Grisaffi, the rescuers, told AP that they had been praying for her.

“I was really hoping it would be a miracle and she would pull through,” Moore said.

More from the Associated Press:

Hawaii officials announced Tuesday they plan to spend the next two years studying tiger shark movements around Maui amid what they call an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012.

 

There have been eight attacks statewide this year and 10 in 2012. Hawaii usually sees only three to four attacks each year.

William Aila, the chairperson of the Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, the agency planning the tiger shark study, issued this statement:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Ms. Jana Lutteropp’s passing today. We join with Hawaii’s people to extend our deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

“As an island state, we are aware that we are all visitors in the natural environment that surrounds us, and that unfortunate incidents such as this one can occur.  We are committed to furthering research efforts that will help guide effective management actions in the interest of safety.”