Wife Watches in Horror as Shark Kills Her Husband During Hawaii Vacation

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
May 30, 2019 Updated: May 30, 2019

A helpless wife watched in horror as her 65-year-old husband, a retired optometrist, was killed by a shark during their vacation in Hawaii on early May 25.

Dr. Thomas Smiley and his wife Gale from California were at their vacation home in Maui when the attack happened on Saturday, reported CBS Sacramento.

“He went out for one last swim before breakfast. I was on the third-floor lanai,” Gale told the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday. “It happened right in front of me. No words can express…”

The shark attacked Smiley while he was swimming 60 yards off the coast of Kaanapali Beach State Park. A jet ski ferried Smiley to the shore, but he couldn’t be saved.

“They pulled the man up. He looked unconscious when they transferred him to the other gurney. And we could see that they were trying to do CPR on him,” Allison Keller, a witness told CBS Sacramento.

Smiley and Gale were childhood sweethearts and were married for 42 years. “He was absolutely my best friend. You couldn’t know a better man,” Gale said.

The grieving wife said Smiley loved the outdoors and they were out every weekend. Friends told the media that he loved water-skiing, scuba diving, race car driving, but most of all his family.

“He lived and breathed for his family. He wanted to show them what it meant to be a good person, a good friend, a good human being,” Gale said.

“He always said, ‘Try everything. Be adventurous. Don’t be afraid’ … He said, ‘I’m going to try everything I can,’” she said.

Smiley had retired this year and is survived by his wife, three children, and six grandchildren.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ told the media outlet that it was the sixth shark attack in Hawaii this year and the first fatal attack on the Hawaiian shores since 2015.

“The bite radius and the tooth pattern and sometimes a tooth fragment is left in the victim, like in the bone or something, and so, a tooth fragment is the surest way, but also the bite radius, if it’s a very big bite radius, then it rules out a lot of other species of sharks, like Galapagos shark. Tiger shark, of course, is the number one that comes to my mind for a fatal attack” Michael Domeier, Director of the Marine Conservation Science Institute told CBS Sacramento.

Gale said there were no warning signs when Smiley went in the water, and had he seen one he wouldn’t have ventured into the ocean.

“He was an advanced diver. If a sign was posted at that location–he’s a very intelligent diver, very astute, he’s been diving all over. He was very conscious of safety. He would not have gone into the water,” Gale told the Sacramento Bee.

“They should’ve had that warning. It’s an unfortunate thing. I come from a family of first responders. He should have been made aware when there was a problem,” she said.

Authorities told the media that warning signs have been put at Honokowai Point where the attack happened.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya
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