Last updated: 02:34 PM ET, Mon May 04 2015

Maui Beaches Closed Following Fatal Shark Attack

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | May 04, 2015

Maui Beaches Closed Following Fatal Shark Attack

Image courtesy of Thinkstock

Authorities were forced to temporarily close beaches in and around a popular surf spot in Maui, Hawaii after a woman was killed in a shark attack last week, according to Faith Karimi of CNN

Ocean safety crews shutdown waters from Big Beach to La Perouse Bay in south Maui.

The Maui Fire Department said the 65-year-old female victim was unresponsive laying face down roughly 200 yards from shore when snorkelers discovered her on April 29. 

"The victim reportedly was snorkeling with two other friends and at some point separated from the others," said the Fire Department in a statement via CNN. "She was alone when she was found."

The incident occurred near Big Beach at Makena State Park along the southwest coast of Maui. 

Despite there being no witnesses, medical personnel discovered wounds to the woman's upper torso common to a shark attack. 

The county's official Facebook page confirmed the incident and subsequent closures the following day:

Although last week's incident came just days after a man suffered multiple shark bites in Marco Island, Florida, dangerous encounters between humans and sharks remain extremely rare. Just 52 shark attacks were reported across the U.S. last year and a majority of the scares are non-life-threatening, according to University of Florida biologist and shark attack expert George Burgess.

"Most of them are better called bites than attacks," said Burgess via Kristine Gill of the Naples Daily News. "They’re the equivalent of dog bites."

It remains to be seen when authorities will reopen the affected beaches. 

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