Second tourist dies of shark bite off Maui

A shark killed Patrick Briney, 57, as he was fishing in a kayak off Maui on Monday, the Associated Press reports. The animal bit Briney’s foot, which was dangling in the water. His fishing partner applied a tourniquet and a passing charter boat ferried the men to shore, but Briney, a resident of Stevenson, Wash., could not be saved.

There are typically about four unprovoked shark attacks a year in Hawaii, and fatalities are extremely rare:

Let’s consider the numbers, courtesy of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Last year, 80 unprovoked shark strikes took place worldwide: Seven resulted in deaths, including one in California. Fifty-three strikes took place in U.S. waters, nearly half of them off Florida.¶ According to the file’s analysis of 2000 data, beachgoers faced a 1-in-2-million chance of dying from drowning and other causes based on visits to East and West Coast beaches. By contrast, they faced a 1-in-11.5-million chance of being attacked by a shark, and less than a 1-in-264-million chance of dying from a shark bite, since just one person died that year in U.S. waters from an attack.

Put another way, more Americans were killed by collapsing sinkholes (16) than sharks (11) between 1990 and 2006, and more by tornadoes (125) than sharks (6) in Florida between 1985 and 2010.

Juliet Eilperin

However, 13 people have been attacked by sharks in Hawaii already this year, and Briney is the second to have died. A shark killed Jana Lutteropp, a 20-year-old German, in August. She was snorkeling when the shark bit off her arm.

Like Briney, Lutteropp was off the southwest coast of Maui when she was attacked. Another woman was attacked last week off the island. She survived.

State authorities cannot explain the unusually high number of shark attacks, but they have asked the public to stay out of the water around Maui’s Makena State Recreation Area.

Max Ehrenfreund writes for Wonkblog and compiles Wonkbook, a daily policy newsletter. You can subscribe here. Before joining The Washington Post, Ehrenfreund wrote for the Washington Monthly and The Sacramento Bee.

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