Social media users encouraged to think before they post following Maui shark incident : Kauai Now
Social media users are encouraged by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to resist the urge to post and comment before all the facts of an incident are known. The department is making the request following the disappearance last week of a 60-year-old woman in the state of Washington in waters off the south coast of Maui.
Cooperative investigations by the Maui Police Department and the Land Department’s Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement into the last woman’s disappearance classify the case differently, but with the same basic conclusion. A report from the investigating officer of the division of conservation and resource enforcement found that based on information from the woman’s husband and an eyewitness, her disappearance was classified as “shark attack-fatal”. The Maui Police Department report called the disappearance a “miscible accident-fatal.”
It was a tragic accident, and not only was the woman’s body not recovered, but her family’s grief was compounded by misinformation that quickly spread on social media, suggesting that the incident was anything but what it was. wash.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources has repeatedly noted this type of online behavior. Family members and friends of the people involved in this kind of tragic situation often see these posts.
The department asks people who post misinformation and conspiracy theories anonymously to stop and think about how they would react if they were in the same situation; imagine if it was someone you knew and loved and how you would feel.
Social media can either be a powerful tool for sharing information or a mouthpiece for extremely hurtful and inaccurate comments directed at people dealing with a tragedy.
On December 8, officers responded to reports of a shark attack at the end of South Kihei Road fronting Keawakepu Beach in Kihei. At the time, Maui County lifeguards, Maui Fire and Emergency Services personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard were actively searching the water for “a missing female, possibly the victim of a shark bite,” according to the report from the Division of Conservation and Resources.
Officers interviewed the missing woman’s husband who said he encountered an “aggressive” shark shortly after entering the water to snorkel about 50 meters from shore. He said he and his wife did not snorkel right next to each other and he could only see her from time to time. As the shark continued to circle him, he kept looking for his wife, thinking she might have dived to the bottom of the sea.
He told officers the shark swam away while he continued to search for his wife by sticking its head out of the water and scanning the surface. He did spot something in the distance and then the shark came back, and he could see something red around the shark’s gills. At the time, he said people on the beach started yelling at him to get out of the water because a shark was feeding in the area.
The account given by the woman’s husband is corroborated by an eyewitness on the beach who said he saw a large shark eating something in the water. The witness had earlier seen the couple snorkeling and started looking for them to warn them, “when he saw the shark’s big mouth keep feeding on something in the middle of the red cloud in the water.” He continued to shout for the woman’s husband to get out of the water, but did not see the woman again. This witness called 911 to report the incident.