Shark Not To Blame In Diver Death

Allen Pascua, Maui Fire Department Assistant Chief
Allen Pascua, Maui Fire Department Assistant Chief
Eyewitnesses to recovery effort at Makena, Maui
Eyewitnesses to recovery effort at Makena, Maui
Makena Beach, Maui
Makena Beach, Maui

MAKENA, Maui (KHNL)  Beaches in South Maui are now open. They were closed this morning and all day Friday after the remains of a diver were found in the ocean. The diver from San Jose, California had been missing since Thursday.

Now the Maui Medical Examiner tells a San Jose newspaper the free diver likely drown.

The coroner's office told the newspaper it received three different sections of remains: a pelvis and lower extremities.

``We're not able to determine the cause of death,'' said Dr. Tony Manoukian, a coroner's physician, from the morgue at Maui Memorial Medical Center Saturday. ``We can't exclude the possibility that he was dead at the time of the attack.''

Manoukian, a forensic pathologist, told the San Jose Mercury this was his fourth autopsy of a shark attack victim. He said the fact that the kidney was congested with blood indicated that Moore probably drowned and was then attacked by sharks, as opposed to bleeding to death while alive.

``We see shallow water blackouts and drowning more frequently than shark attacks,'' said Manoukian, who said that DNA testing or recovering the skull and dental records would be required to positively identify the body.

``It may have been more than one species of shark,'' Manoukian said. ``But we have no evidence that it was anything other than a tiger or reef shark.

While a search was going on for the missing diver Friday morning, a kayaker made a gruesome discovery. He found human remains in waters off Makena Landing.

The 45 year-old "free diver" is identified as Anthony Moore of San Jose, California.
"The diver is a visitor from the mainland - a very experienced diver - a strong swimmer" said Maui Fire Department Assistant Chief Allen Pascua.

Early Friday morning a kayaker found what appeared to be human remains.

"At approximately 10:45 this morning, evidence was recovered that may indicate a shark attack."

A good stretch of Maui beach was closed. There were spotters on shore. The crew on a Coast Guard helicopter searches above for any sign of sharks. The beach will remain closed Saturday.

On Friday some beachgoers actually witnessed the fire department recover the victim.

"We saw the Maui County chopper right out here - dropped a diver in. And he was signalling to the guys that he found something in the water" said an eyewitness.

The remains were taken to the morgue at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.

"Right now it is still under investigation. The search has been suspended. More evidence was found and recovered since then. We are still working on that identification with with the coroner's office" said Pascua.

Area neighbors and visitors stayed out of the water.

"It certainly makes you cautious. You know, I dive, we both swim and kayak. We were kayaking yesterday" said an eyewitness to the recovery.

The last shark attack in Hawaii also happened in waters off Maui. Last December a shark bit off part of a swimmer's left hand. A shark killed surfer Will McGinis in waters off Maui in 2004.