CERRITOS (CBSLA.com) — A Cerritos woman is lucky to be alive after surviving a shark attack in Hawaii this week.
Evonne Cashman was bitten around the head and face by a 25-foot shark. Cashman said she believed she was going to die.
Cashman was snorkeling 30 feet from shore, in water about 10 feet deep, near a Wailea resort on the island of Maui when she says a shark first rammed her and then bit into her.
During a nearly seven-minute YouTube video, Cashman describes her ordeal at Ulua beach.
“It happened so fast. I didn’t see him coming; I didn’t see him leave,” she says in the video. “He just came and hit me hard and then bit me hard. I took off swimming to the shore fast as I could… I was yelling ‘Help’ the whole way.”
KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez spoke with the woman’s family in Cerritos Thursday evening.
Doctors said her most serious injury is a 15-inch gash from the middle of her back to her chin.
“He bit me and then let go as quickly as he bit me,” she said in her hospital bed. “I’m grateful to God he only bit me once. He apparently didn’t like me. He tasted me and said, ‘This is not what I want’ and he let me go.”
Cashman’s nieces and nephews are house sitting at her place. They are not surprised the woman they call “Aunt Von” is a fighter and making jokes from her hospital bed.
Cashman said she now knows snorkeling after a heavy rain, when the water is murky and choppy, is not a good idea.
“She’s active. She doesn’t like sitting around a lot. It doesn’t surprise me she was out there,” said nephew Brent Jones.
Cashman is due back in Cerritos on Tuesday. It was her first trip to Hawaii in eight years.
She’s already told her relatives she will be back in the water as soon as possible.
“I hear it’s very rare [to be bitten by a shark],” Cashman says. “It would have to be even more rare for it to happen a second time. I can’t imagine not snorkeling again… and I don’t want to be afraid of the water.”