Surfer killed in ‘shark encounter’ in Hawaii

A surfer who was killed in a suspected shark attack in Hawaii has been named by authorities, as his friends and family paid tributes.

Jason Carter, 39, died Saturday after what police called a “shark encounter” at a beach near Paia on the north side of Maui.

Maui County said in a statement that Carter, from nearby Haiku, was taken from the water by jet ski after 11 a.m. and given lifesaving measures by first responders until paramedics arrived to take him to the Maui Memorial Medical Center. He later died in the hospital.

“The preliminary investigation reveals no signs of foul play,” the county said.

An eyewitness told NBC News that the enormous shark was as big as a pickup truck and pulled the surfer into the water.

 Jason Carter, 39.
Jason Carter, 39.via Facebook

“The shark just started biting him and pulling him down,” he said. “The dorsal fin was almost as big as his [Carter’s] body, the height of it was almost as high as his head sitting on the board. It was hard to hear him screaming.”

Warning signs were placed alongside the beach a mile on either side of the incident, Hawaii’s Land and Natural Resources Department said.

The incident was the eighth shark encounter recorded in Hawaii last year, but the first that proved fatal.

In 2022 a 51-year-old French tourist was severely injured and lost her left arm and part of her left hand in a shark attack in Paia Bay.

On Facebook, tributes to Carter, known as Jay, praised his spirit and personality. “RIP Jay Carter your smile will always be in my head. Thanks for everything,” one person wrote.

Carter’s own Facebook profile shows images of him surfing and snowboarding.

Elsewhere, a 15-year-old surfer was killed in a shark attack in the waters off South Australia on Thursday. Khai Cowley is suspected to have been attacked by a great white shark while surfing in the Yorke Peninsula, west of Adelaide.