Good Samaritans share moments of helping woman who suffered shark bite off Maui

Hospital officials confirm that she remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 6:52 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 5, 2022 at 10:05 PM HST
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PAIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Beaches are back open on Maui’s North Shore on Monday, two days after a visitor from France was critically injured by a shark bite.

The victim’s identity is being withheld out of respect for her privacy. Hospital officials confirm that she remains in the intensive care unit.

“If the family does see this, I would like them to know that my heart is with them. I’ve been thinking about them every day, and I hope she’s OK,” said Makawao resident Casey Reece-Kaigler.

Reece-Kaigler is still processing what she witnessed at Paia Bay Saturday afternoon. She got out of the water around 4:00 p.m. Moments later, she heard screaming.

“It was pretty obvious what was going on,” she said.

State authorities said the 51-year-old victim was about 100 feet offshore when the shark bit her.

“She started screaming for help, and so I ran back to my phone, and I called 911,” Reece-Kaigler said. “These two men went out and swam her back to shore, and there was a man and a woman that kind of took charge and seemed like they knew what they were doing.”

John Ujfalusi, visiting from Canada, has experience in the medical field. He said the woman’s injuries were life-threatening.

“The nurse that was working on her had already used a piece of cloth to put a tourniquet around her,” Ujfalusi said. “I applied pressure using the towels and tried to comfort the woman by being present and we waited for the paramedics to arrive.”

“It was very bad,” said Reece-Kaigler.

Authorities declined to provide details on her injuries, but hospital officials said her condition was improving on Monday.

“I’m just really grateful that there were people there who knew how to respond for her wounds in the moment,” Reece-Kaigler said.

“Despite how debilitating it may feel at first, there’s really no limit to what she can do once she recovers. I’ve seen lots of patients who live very full lives,” said Ujfalusi.

Shark attacks are much more common on the south and west sides of Maui.

State records show there has not been an incident off Paia since 2016.