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Hawaii Woman Killed in Apparent Shark Attack Identified

Margaret C. Cruse, 65, suffered wounds to her torso consistent with a shark attack, authorities said.
/ Source: NBC News

Authorities in Hawaii have identified a 65-year-old woman who was killed in an apparent shark attack off the coast of Maui on Wednesday, in what is believed to be the third fatal shark attack in the waters surrounding the island since 2013.

Margaret C. Cruse, 65, of Kihei, was found floating face-down in the water near Ahihi Kinau Bay on the southwest coast of the island shortly before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

She was taken to the beach but medics could not save her, the Maui County government said. Injuries to her torso were said to be consistent with a shark attack, but an autopsy is pending. Cruse was snorkeling with two others but they became separated before the apparent attack occurred, the government said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources posted warning signs and closed Makena State Park and nearby waters after the apparent shark attack. The area was reopened to the public at noon Thursday after searchers failed to spot any sharks, the DLNR said.

Until Wednesday, there had been only three confirmed fatal shark attacks in Hawaii waters since 1995, but all three of those occurred off the coast of Maui — two in the past 16 months, DLNR records said.

Fisherman Patrick Brinley was killed by an unknown species of shark while fishing from a kayak off the coast of Makena on Dec. 2, 2013, and Jana Lutteropp, a German tourist, died after a shark bit off her arm while she was snorkeling in Makena on Aug. 14, 2013, according to state records.

A surfer also died in a 2004 shark attack off the coast of Maui, according to state records. State officials urged swimmers and surfers to stay near others and to use beaches where lifeguards are present.


— Phil Helsel