Special Report
forwarded by AAF Correspondent: Jim Morris

Man Says Wife Dies in Hawaii
Honeymoon Shark Attack

Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Reuters 23-MAR-99 MAUI, Hawaii, March 23 (Reuters) - A California man has told police that his Hawaiian honeymoon turned into a hellish ordeal last week when he lost his new bride to a vicious shark attack off the Maui coast. Mark Monazzami of Sunnyvale, Calif., told authorities his story after he was airlifted to safety Sunday from Kahoolawe, an uninhabited island 12 miles (19 km) west of Maui that the U.S. Navy used to use as a bombing target practice area. Monazzami, a 39-year-old airline engineer who came to the United States from Iran 20 years ago, told authorities that he was visiting the Maui resort community of Lahaina on a belated honeymoon with his 29-year-old wife Naghid Davoodabai, whom he married about eight months ago after she arrived in the United States from Iran.

The pair set out last Thursday for an afternoon kayak trip, staying close to the beach on calm seas, he said. On a third foray from shore, however, they found themselves quickly swept out to sea by unexpectedly strong winds. "It was so strong, I was freezing," Monazzami told the San Jose, Calif., Mercury News, which reported the story on Tuesday. "I said, 'what's going on here? Have we been cursed?'."

Monazzami said he and his wife yelled and waved their paddles to attract attention, but to no avail. Then the wind and waves drew them further out into the ocean, capsizing their kayak several times. They were hanging onto the boat when Davoodabai screamed "Mark, shark! My arm's gone," Monazzami told the Mercury News. He hauled her onto the kayak and tried to use the drawstring from his swimsuit as a tourniquet to staunch the flow of blood, but she eventually bled to death in his arms, he said.

He said he drifted on the kayak overnight and that his wife's body slipped into the sea at some point as the kayak was buffeted by winds. The boat ran ashore on Kahoolawe's rocky coast Friday morning.

After wandering the island for two days wearing only a life vest, he stumbled upon an old military bunker with a satellite dish. Inside, he found a working telephone and he dialed the 911 emergency number. A helicopter airlifted him to Maui Memorial Medical Centre, where he was listed in stable condition Tuesday. "He has declined all new interview requests," Boyd Kleefisch, the hospital's chief executive, told Reuters. "We can all empathize. If he was in the water for that long, and lost his wife, he must be very upset." Davoodabai's body has so far not been recovered despite searches by helicopter and ship, and Maui police said they were handling the incident as a missing person case. A gray kayak resembling the one rented by Monazzami and Davoodabai was recovered Tuesday from Kahoolawe, and authorities were testing it to see if it was in fact their vessel, a police spokeswoman said. The incident marked the second apparent shark attack in the waters around Maui in recent weeks. A snorkler was bitten on the leg off Kaanapali Beach on March 6.

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