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German woman dies a week after losing arm to shark in Maui

sharkattackvandenbergap.jpg

FILE: Oct. 22, 2010: A sign warning surfers of a recent shark attack is posted at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, (AP)

A German woman who lost her arm in a shark attack died Wednesday, one week after she was bitten while snorkeling off Maui.

Jana Lutteropp, 20, who had been on life support, died at Maui Memorial Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Carol Clark said.

"Jana fought hard to stay alive," said a statement from her mother and sister, which was released by Clark. "However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today."

Clark said the family was requesting privacy.

Lutteropp was snorkeling up to 100 yards off Palauea Beach at the resort community of Makena when the shark bit off her right arm.

A high school teacher visiting from California jumped into the water after hearing her screaming and seeing blood in the surf. Rick Moore, 57, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., said Lutteropp went in and out of consciousness and kept repeating that she was going to die.

It's not known what type of shark bit Lutteropp. State officials investigating the attack said witnesses didn't see the animal.

"Jana was a very beautiful, strong, young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way," said the statement from her mother, Jutta Lutteropp and sister, Julia Broeske.

They asked that donations in her memory be made to the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

"We appreciate all the support from the Maui community, as well as the prayers and thoughts from around the world and in Germany," they said. "We especially want to thank the wonderful caregivers and everyone at Maui Memorial Medical Center."

After the attack, Moore's friend Nicholas Grisaffi stood in neck-high water and took Lutteropp from Moore, carrying her limp body out of the water. They said Wednesday they've been praying for her.

"I was really hoping it would be a miracle and she would pull through," Moore said.

Grisaffi said he's been replaying the ordeal in his mind.

"Rick risked his life," said Grisaffi, 61, of Laguna Beach, Calif. "Did I do enough? Should I have grabbed my fins and swam out with him?"

The head of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the agency responsible for Hawaii's waters, said he was deeply saddened to learn of Lutterop's death and joined Hawaii's people in extending his sympathy to her family and friends.

"As an island state, we are aware that we are all visitors in the natural environment that surrounds us, and that unfortunate incidents such as this one can occur," William Aila said. "We are committed to furthering research efforts that will help guide effective management actions in the interest of safety."

Hawaii officials announced Tuesday they plan to spend the next two years studying tiger shark movements around Maui amid what they call an unprecedented spike in overall shark attacks since the start of 2012.

There have been eight attacks statewide this year and 10 in 2012. Hawaii usually sees only three to four attacks each year.

The last time someone in Hawaii died from a shark attack was in 2004, when a tiger shark bit Willis McInnis in the leg while he was surfing 100 yards off Maui. McInnis suffered severe blood loss and died on the shore despite rescue efforts by beachgoers, police and paramedics. The last fatal attack before that was in 1992.

A woman was killed last month after being attacked while swimming in Brazil during her vacation.

Worldwide, there were seven deaths resulting from unprovoked shark attacks in 2012, including one in California, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

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