California doctor vacationing on Maui identified as victim of fatal shark bite

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MAUI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) - A 65-year-old California man has died after suffering an apparent shark bite while swimming off Maui, officials said Saturday.

A fatal shark attack on Maui has claimed the life of a California man. (Source: AP Graphics)

On Sunday, Maui Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Okamoto confirmed the identity of the victim as Thomas Smiley who was visiting from Granite Bay, Calif.

California media said Smiley was an optometrist who had just retired this year.

According to information from the Maui Fire Department along with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Smiley was swimming about 60 yards from shore near the Kaanapali Shores resort Saturday.

“They pulled the man up. He looked unconscious when they transferred him to the other gurney. And we could see that they were trying to do CPR on him," said witness Allison Keller.

But they could not revive him. Witnesses said it was a traumatic situation.

“As we got closer, I saw some blood on his stomach and then I got looking a little bit more and his wrist, it looked like the skin on his wrist was just torn off," Keller said.

"And then I got looking closer and his entire left leg from his knee down was just missing. There was no blood or anything.”

Keller says the victim was vacationing on Maui with his wife.

The incident is the first fatal shark bite in the islands since 2015.

There have been five fatal shark attacks off Hawaii since 2004, and all five happened in Maui waters, according to the DLNR.

The DLNR put up shark warning signs in the area.

It’s unclear what type of shark was involved in the incident.

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