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Honolulu - A 20-year-old German tourist who lost an arm in a shark attack off the coast of Maui last week died of her wounds on Wednesday, her family said, becoming the first person to die of a shark attack in Hawaii in nearly a decade.
Jana Lutteropp, 20, had been in hospital since she was attacked while snorkelling near Maui and had been on life support prior to her death, a hospital spokeswoman said.
“Jana fought hard to stay alive. However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today,” Lutteropp's mother, Jutta Lutteropp, and sister Julia Broeske said in a statement released by Maui Memorial Medical Centre.
“Jana was a very beautiful, strong, young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way,” Lutteropp and Broeske said in the statement.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported in a story on its website that Lutteropp was snorkelling about 50m offshore, in an area known as White Rock, last Wednesday when she was attacked shortly before 5pm.
Four days after Lutteropp was attacked, a 2.4m shark bit a 16-year-old boy in the legs while he was surfing along the east coast of Hawaii's Big Island.
The young victim, Jimmy Ulualoha “Ulu-boy” Napeahi, suffered 30 deep lacerations in the attack, which occurred while he was surfing on Sunday with friends at Pohoiki Bay. He was expected to fully recover.
That incident marked the ninth shark attack on a person in Hawaiian waters this year, according to William Aila, chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Aila said Hawaii typically documents five or six close encounters between people and sharks every year, including bites or cases in which a shark may actually bump into or brush up against someone.
According to the Land and Natural Resources department, the last fatal shark attack in Hawaii took place on April 7, 2004, when a surfer suffered severe bite wounds about 100m from shore off the Maui coast. - Reuters