A missing Washington state woman was likely eaten by an “aggressive” shark while snorkeling in Hawaii, said authorities — who revealed that her husband spotted the possible culprit nearby with “something red” around its gills.
The 60-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was last seen on Dec. 8 when she and her husband were snorkeling at Keawakapu Beach in Maui County, according to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources on Friday.
Though her body has not been recovered, officials concluded that the woman was killed in a shark attack.
The missing woman’s husband told police he encountered an “aggressive shark” while swimming about 50 yards off the beach. He said he and his wife were not snorkeling next to each other and that he had only been able to see her from time to time.
The man recounted that the shark began to circle him, prompting him to continually pop his head out of the water and scan the surface to try to locate her.
He then spotted the shark in the distance and noticed “something red around the shark’s gills.” At the time, people on the beach began yelling at him to get out of the water because a shark was feeding in the area.
An eyewitness on the beach said he saw a large shark feeding on something in the water, and tried to warn the couple “when he saw the shark’s large mouth continuing to feed on something in the middle of the red cloud in the water.” Soon after, the witness called 911.
Rescuers searched for the woman, both in the water and from the sky, until Dec. 9, when officials spotted what they believed was a 10- to 12-foot-long tiger shark swimming in the area.