Hawaii shark attack victim describes encounter

MAUI, Hawaii

The shark struck in an instant leaving Evonne Cashman covered in stitches. She had gashes across her chin, hands and all over her back.

"I got hit really hard and bit then he let go as quickly as he bit me," said Cashman. "I just started swimming to shore as fast as I could yelling help the whole way."

The terrifying encounter occurred Wednesday morning as the 56-year-old from Cerritos was snorkeling off the southern coast of Maui. She was swimming in about 10 feet of water just off shore when the shark suddenly took a massive bite.

"The doctor in the ER said he thinks according to the bites and where they are and what it looks like, it was probably about a 25-foot shark," said Cashman.

Authorities don't know what species of shark bit Cashman since she didn't get a good look at it. Several beaches in the area have been closed due to the danger.

It's the second shark attack in recent days off the Hawaiian Islands. On Monday, a 19-year-old surfer was bitten by a tiger shark off the coast of Oahu. The teen underwent extensive surgery on his left leg.

Officials have been warning people to stay out of the water due to Tropical Storm Flossie. The murky water makes sharks more likely to bite anything they sense.

"I've learned now that after a couple of days from a storm, you should wait to go in the water, because it was rather choppy and it was rather murky," said Cashman.

Cashman, who underwent surgery for the bite on her back and neck, is grateful she escaped with her life.

"He only bit once and he let go right away, thank goodness. I'm very grateful to God for that. He was out there protecting me," said Cashman.

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