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A Hawaii woman was killed in an apparent shark attack off the coast of Maui on Wednesday morning, prompting officials to close off beaches and a section of the ocean that includes a popular surfing spot.
Snorkelers near the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve on the southwest coast of the island found the woman’s body floating face-down in the water just before 9 a.m., and the injuries are consistent with a shark attack, Maui County government said in a statement.
The woman was only identified as a 65-year-old resident of Kihei, up the coast about 12 miles from where her body was found. Authorities said she was snorkeling with two friends when they became separated, and she was alone when the body was discovered.
Beaches and the ocean from the reserve to Makena State Park to the north, including a surf spot called "The Dumps" were closed until at least noon Thursday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said.
There have only been two other shark attacks in all of Hawaii so far this year, according to the DLNR, which tracks shark attacks. Neither was fatal.
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.
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