Thomas Smiley shark attack: Retired, Granite Bay, California optometrist killed while swimming 60 yards from shore while holidaying with wife.
A 65-year-old retired optometrist has died after being attacked by a shark while swimming 60 yards from the shore while holidaying in Maui.
Dr. Thomas Smiley, of Granite Bay, California– who was in Hawaii on vacation with his wife, had been swimming near the Kaanapali Shores resort when a witness saw him in distress in the water.
They called 911 and the man was found unresponsive in the water. He was brought to shore on a jet ski and given CPR.
‘They pulled the man up. He looked unconscious when they transferred him to the other gurney,’ witness Allison Keller told via Hawaii News Now.
‘And we could see that they were trying to do CPR on him.’
Keller said Smiley suffered horrific injuries from the attack.
‘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,’ she 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.’
Smiley could not be revived and succumbed to his injuries.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. Dr Smiley leaves behind a wife, 3 children, and 6 grandchildren.
Thomas Smiley shark attack: The fight against nature vs man.
Smiley was a long-time local optometrist, and a big family man, according to friends.
He had just retired this year.
It is the first fatal shark attack in Hawaii since 2015, when a snorkeler was killed in Maui.
Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources put up shark warning signs for half a mile on either side of the area where the man was attacked, which is protocol. They remained in place until Sunday.
This is the sixth shark attack in Hawaii this year, according to the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources. There were only three total all of last year.
The last shark-attack fatality in Hawaii was in April 2015, when a snorkeler was killed off Maui.
The species of shark suspected to be involved in Saturday’s attack was not confirmed, although tiger sharks are most commonly responsible, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
‘In an island state that’s surrounded by water, human and shark conflicts do occur from time to time,’ DOCARE official Jason Redulla told ABC News Radio.
“There is always the potential for conflict between animal and human, and we just have to be aware of that and respect that’.