A German tourist in Hawaii who was attacked by a shark last week has died of her injuries, according to hospital officials in Maui. Jana Lutteropp, 20, lost her arm in the attack during a snorkeling trip last Wednesday. She is the first person to die from a shark attack in Hawaii in more than nine years.
After Lutteropp was attacked less than 100 yards from the coast at Palauea Beach, she was helped by Rick Moore, a California high school teacher who plunged into the surf to swim her back to shore.
"I can only imagine what she was going through," Moore told the AP. "I was inspired by her."
Lutteropp had been on life support since the attack. Her mother, Jutta Lutteropp, and sister, Julia Broeske, released a statement after her death Wednesday. From Hawaii News Now:
"Jana fought hard to stay alive. However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today.
"Jana was a very beautiful, strong, young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way.
"We appreciate all the support from the Maui community, as well as the prayers and thoughts from around the world and in Germany.
"We especially want to thank the wonderful caregivers and everyone at Maui Memorial Medical Center."
According to My Northwest.com, Lutteropp was on vacation in Hawaii after working as a nanny in Issaquah, Wash. She had planned to return home to Germany in September.
As Maui Now reports, the attack on Lutteropp is part of a recent spike in shark encounters in the area:
"The incident comes on the heels of a separate incident in which a shark bit an unmanned board about a quarter mile offshore of Kanah Point near Kanah Beach in Central Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 13. No one was injured in that incident.
"And prior to that, a shark attack was reported on Wednesday July 31, in the Ulua Beach area of South Maui. During that incident, a California woman was treated and released from the hospital after suffering bite marks to her face and torso."
Over the weekend, a teenage surfer was also attacked, suffering injuries to both legs on Hawaii's Big Island. He is in stable condition, according to reports.
Responding to what they call "an unprecedented spike" in shark attacks, officials in Honolulu said Tuesday that they will launch a two-year research effort to study shark movements in the area. The state reports eight shark attacks so far in 2013, far above the average of three to four incidents a year.
A look at the International Shark Attack File, maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History, shows that shark attacks in Hawaii rose abruptly last year, to 10 from just three in 2011.
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