A shark killed a California man on Saturday as he was swimming off the coast of Maui in Hawaii. It was Hawaii’s first fatal shark attack since 2015.
Authorities had reportedly posted signs along a half-mile stretch beach warning people of a shark.
Thomas Smiley, 65, was swimming about 60 yards from the shore of Ka’anapali Beach Park on Maui around 8:30 a.m local time when a shark attacked, according to Dan Dennison, a spokesman for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Multiple Sacramento television stations reported shortly after the incident that Thomas Smiley was a longtime local optometrist.
Allison Keller, an eye witness, told Hawaii News Now that rescuers pulled an unconscious man ashore, then performed CPR.
“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,” Keller said. “And then I got looking closer and his entire left leg from his knee down was just missing.”
Thomas Smiley, from Granite Bay California, was vacationing in the islands with his wife, friends and relatives said. It is unclear what species of the shark that attacked.
“He was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing something in a place he loved, doing something that he was extremely comfortable and loved,” said Dr. Gary Taxera, Smiley’s best friend.
Smiley leaves behind a wife, three children and six grandchildren.
“He had a personality bigger than life in a really good way,” Taxera said. “He was a good-hearted man and people who didn’t get to know him, really missed out.”