Shark attack off Maui is the third in a month; snorkeler hospitalized

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A tiger shark is believed responsible for an attack Monday on a Maui snorkeler. Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A 58-year-old Maui woman was hospitalized in serious condition Monday after a large shark bit her on the calf and thigh as she snorkeled while floating atop a foam mat.

The attack occurred at about 10 a.m., 30 to 40 yards from shore at Kamaole Beach Park in Kihei. Area beaches remained closed Tuesday morning, after warning signs were posted.

The woman, who is from Kihei, made it to shore and even warned other swimmers that she had seen a large shark, before receiving help from a lifeguards.

"Suddenly, I heard Barbara was saying, 'Everybody out of the water. There's a shark!' " Jordan Snow, a witness, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Snow told Hawaii News Now that the woman, identified only as Barbara, was bleeding profusely when she reached the beach. She was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she underwent surgery.

It was the third shark attack in Maui during the past month, including another attack off Kihei, according to Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources.

RELATED: Massive tiger shark reeled onto a Florida beach

The shark involved in Monday's attack was most likely a tiger shark.

Tiger sharks, which can measure 15-plus feet, feed on green sea turtles, among other prey items. It's possible that the shark mistook the silhouette of the woman, as she floated on a foam mat, as prey.

Maui Now reports that this was the seventh "shark-bite incident" off Maui in 2016.

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