A young German tourist suffered critical injuries Wednesday after she was attacked by a shark while she snorkeled off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Maui, marking the eighth attack in the island state this year.
The 20-year-old woman was pulled from the water by friends and a nearby kayaker, and was unconscious when first responders made it to the scene, notes CNN. She was taken to the Maui Medical Center for treatment.
“We heard screaming from the water and it was this unbelievable scream like I’ve never heard before,” said Andree Conley-Kapoi to MauiNow.com of the incident. “The only time anybody would scream like that is if they are being attacked by a shark.”
The attack prompted a beach closure at Makena State Park, where the incident took place, all the way to Keawaula beach reports KITV.com. The beach will be re-opened pending a search of the area.
The attack comes only two days after a north Maui beach was shuttered when a shark bit an abandoned kiteboard.
Although this has been a bad year for shark attacks in Hawaii, it’s worth keeping in mind the rarity of such incidents.
According to data collected by the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, only 80 incidents of unprovoked shark attack took place around the world in 2012 — and you’re still much more likely to be killed by a lightning strike or a domestic dog than by a shark.
ISAF found an increase in global shark attacks from 2011, but it doesn’t mean that sharks are becoming more aggressive.
“The numerical growth in shark interactions does not necessarily mean that there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks, rather, it most likely reflects the ever-increasing amount of time spent in the sea by humans, which increases the opportunities for interaction between the two affected parties.”