Maui Shark Victim Identified As Retired Optometrist Thomas Smiley

He "was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing something in a place he loved," said a friend.

The man killed Saturday in a shark attack off the coast of Hawaii was a retired optometrist who loved the water.

Thomas Smiley, 65, was attacked as he swam about 60 yards off Ka’anapali Beach Park in western Maui, according to multiple reports citing local authorities. He was declared dead at the beach after rescuers attempted CPR. A witness said Smiley had lost part of his left leg in the attack.

Smiley was visiting the island with his wife, Gale. 

Smiley, who lived in the Granite Bay suburb of Sacramento, California, will be “sorely missed,” lifelong friend Gary Taxera told Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA-TV. “He was a good-hearted guy.”

“Nobody’s going to ever tell me that it was his time to die,” Taxera said. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing something in a place he loved.”

Friend Neil Roszkowski told Fox News Sacramento that Smiley was a “fantastic guy, just a great guy. You couldn’t help but love him.”

Smiley is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren.

It’s not known what kind of shark attacked Smiley.

There have been four fatal shark attacks off Maui since 2013. The last shark attack before Smiley’s death was in 2015.

Sharks only kill about six people per year on average worldwide, according to figures from the International Shark Attack File, which tracks attacks. Four people were killed in unprovoked shark attacks in 2018; only one of those deaths occurred in the U.S. Most U.S. shark attacks occur in Florida, followed by Hawaii.

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