Clothing Believed to Belong to Missing Diver Has Evidence of Shark Attack: Investigators

October 14, 2019 Updated: October 14, 2019

A Hawaii man is feared to have been killed by a shark after clothing believed to belong to him was found with damage consistent to shark attacks, authorities say.

Alan Delatorre, 45, was declared missing after he failed to return home from a solo night dive in Kailua Bay on Oct. 4.

His family and friends told police they have not heard from him since.

Authorities said Delatorre’s truck was found parked in the area of Ali’i Drive a few days later on Oct. 6 and a dive buoy also believed to be his was discovered about 100 yards off the beach.

Rescue experts with the Hawaii Fire Department have since revealed they have found damaged clothing and diving equipment which looks consistent with a shark attack.

However, there is still no sign of Delatorre.

Sergeant David Araki said in a statement on Oct. 7: “Hawaii Fire Department divers recovered clothes and diving equipment in the waters near the buoy that were identified as belonging to Delatorre.

“They indicated the damage to the clothing to be attributed to sharks.”

A source close to the investigation also told local media outlet Big Island Now that the clothing appeared to be “shredded.”

The fire department’s search was suspended on Oct. 6 after items were found in the water, the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported.

Police have described Delatorre as 5ft 4in and 156 pounds with a medium build, black hair, and brown eyes.

They asked anyone with information to contact Officer Adam Cho at (808) 326-4646, ext. 296, or police at (808) 935-3311.

According to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, there are about 40 species of sharks that frequent the region where Delatorre went missing.

Eight species are commonly found close to the shores of Hawaii, including the tiger, hammerhead, whitetip reef, and sandbar shark, all of which are considered to be “top-level carnivores.”

tiger shark
A tiger shark in the Bahamas. (Albert Kok/Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 3.0])
There have been 13 shark incidents recorded in Hawaii this year alone, according to the report.

Research by the department suggests there is an increased risk of being bitten by a shark during October and December, explaining that “some of Hawaii’s most serious shark attacks took place during those months.”

However, it stressed that incidents of sharks biting people in Hawaii are still considered very rare.

The department said: “Although any shark may be potentially dangerous, especially if provoked, it is believed that only a few species of Hawaiian sharks have been responsible for biting people.

“Many in-shore species are difficult to distinguish from each other, and positive identification is often not made.

“People who enter the water need to recognise that there are hidden dangers. A number of marine animals can cause serious injury to people, and sharks are just one example.”

It added that those entering the ocean should consider it a “experience, where people are visitors in a world that belongs to the sharks.”