Jana Lutteropp, the 20-year-old German woman who was attacked by a shark a week ago off the coast of Maui, died this week, succumbing to her injuries, according to her family. The young woman, who was put on life support earlier in the week, lost an arm in the battle with the shark.
"Jana fought hard to stay alive but lost her fight today," her mother, Jutta Lutteropp, and sister, Julia Broeske, said in a statement, Sky News reported (via Yahoo News) Aug. 22. They described Jana Lutteropp as "beautiful" and "strong" and thanked not only well-wishers from Germany but the many who had contacted them from around the world. They also thanked the caretakers at Maui Memorial Medical Centre, where Jana was treated.
Lutteropp was snorkeling on Aug. 14 when she was attacked by a shark of undetermined species. The shark bit off her right arm and a vacationing teacher helped the struggling Lutteropp to shore.
The appendage was never recovered.
Lutteropp's attack was the seventh of the year. Just days later, on Aug. 18, a teenager surfing at Pohoiki Bay off the big island of Hawaii. Reuters reported (via Yahoo News) that the shark, which was estimated to be about 8-10 feet long, left bites and lacerations on the young man's legs. He was expected to make a full recovery.
Of the eight attacks in Hawaii thus far this year, four have been off the shores of Maui. Officials are currently at a loss in determining what might be the cause of increase in shark attacks because a pattern has yet to emerge. Attacks have come at all times of the day and in varying weather and water conditions. Making matters worse, increases in shark attack incidents usually occur from September to December when more fish enter the oceans, drawing sharks to the islands in search of food.
“We have no explanation. These attacks or interactions are all random,” William J. Aila Jr., chairman of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, told the L. A. Times. “It's frustrating that we don't have any answers.”
According to Huffington Post, the last shark attack fatality in Hawaii was in 2004 when Willis McInnis bled to death after a tiger shark bit him in the leg off the coast of Maui. Prior to that, 1992 was the last time someone had died from being attacked by a shark.
There were 10 shark attacks in Hawaii in 2012, according to the state shark database.