The wife of the 65-year-old retired optometrist who died after being attacked by a shark while swimming on Hawaii on Saturday told how she watched helplessly as he tried to be saved.
Dr. Thomas Smiley, from Granite Bay, who lived with his wife Gale at his Maui resort, had swum about 60 meters from the shore at the Kaanapali Shores resort when a witness saw him in distress in the 25-meter deep water.
Gale says she also saw her husband's fight, but did not realize it was him at first.
& # 39; He went swimming one last time before breakfast. I was on the third floor lanai, & Gale Smiley told it Sacramento Bee on Tuesday. & # 39; It happened right in front of me. Cannot express words …
& # 39; He screamed. He was aware. He tried to get help, but he sat too long. He was not that far away. I could see him out there. & # 39;
Gale Smiley says she watched Saturday from their home in Hawaii while Thomas Smiley, 65, asked for help after an attack with sharks, but & # 39; sat too long & # 39; before it came and finally died
Mrs. Smiley (left behind with her daughter and grandchildren) said the grandfather & # 39; not so far away & # 39; was and & # 39; aware & # 39; was when she saw him in the water
Mrs. Smiley told ABC news she walked outside and people pointed into the water in this area where there are usually many turtles and snorkelers.
& # 39; I looked outside and I thought, well, he was a great swimmer, he was a school swimmer, snorkeler, water skier. He spent his entire life in water sports, & Mrs. Smiley told ABC News. & # 39; I thought he couldn't be. So I watched for a while and the golf runner from the police rescue unit started again in our area. & # 39;
But she was in shock when she recognized his bathing suit. He was found unresponsive in the water, brought to the coast on a jet ski and resuscitation.
& # 39; I must have been horrified and shot down and they had him in the ambulance … I saw his face … I was quite in shock, & # 39; Mrs. Smiley added to ABC News.
According to reports, there were warning signs along the beach, but according to Gale there was none in the area where Mr. Smiley was attacked.
Smiley's three children and six grandchildren have been & # 39; destroyed & # 39; about the loss of the family man
Racing car enthusiast always told his family: & Try everything. Be adventurous. Don't be afraid & # 39;
Mrs. Smiley said she was later told about a warning for tiger sharks, but notes that the divers and water skiers were very careful to stay safe in the water.
& # 39; He was an advanced diver. If a sign was posted at that location – he is a very intelligent diver, very clever, he has dived everywhere. He was very aware of safety. He would not have gone into the water, & Mrs. Smiley went on to the Sacramento Bee.
& # 39; They should have had that warning. It is an unfortunate thing. I come from a family of first aid workers. He should have known when there was a problem.
& # 39; Security must be a greater priority. Tom would like it if lessons were learned from this. & # 39;
But Mrs. Smiley insists that she doesn't blame anyone.
The couple had been married for 42 years and Gale calls her wife "absolutely my best friend".
Smiley was a member of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), his wife Gale said Tuesday
Thomas Smiley, from Granite Bay, had a vacation home in Hawaii with his wife Gale (photo) died after being attacked by a shark while swimming in Maui on Saturday
The widowed woman shared that their family had been hit hard by the tragedy, but her husband would not have wanted them to do the activities they loved because of his death.
& # 39; He was such a great man. We are both from Southern California, we are high school sweethearts. We have three children, six grandchildren. He was their absolute example. He taught them to be a good person, a good friend. They are really broken, & Mrs. Smiley continued.
& # 39; He loved the great outdoors – we were away every weekend. He lived and breathed for his family. He wanted to show them what it meant to be a good person, a good friend, a good person. He always said: "Try everything, be adventurous, don't be afraid" … He said: "I will try everything I can".
And try everything she did, including racing with his 1965 Vintage Corvette on circuits in Northern California in the advanced ProX class with Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).
& # 39; He loved racing. He loved cars & # 39; s. He let his family race – all of us, myself too, & Mrs. Smiley informed. & # 39; He had a zest for life. Everyone who knew him, everyone said he was the best person they knew. He was loved by many people. We have poured a lot from all over the country. & # 39;
The 65-year-old man in California died after being attacked by a shark during a dive in Maui
A witness saw the man in need and called 911. He was found unresponsive and brought to the side on a jet ski and given resuscitation
The Department of Land and Natural Resources of Hawaii placed sharks warning signs for half a mile on either side of the area where the man was attacked, which is a protocol
Witness Allison Keller told Hawaii News Now That smiley got horrific injuries from the attack.
& # 39; As we got closer, I saw some blood on his stomach and then I looked a little more and his wrist, it looked like the skin on his wrist had just been torn off, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; And then I came closer and missed his entire left leg from his knee. There was no blood or something. & # 39;
Smiley couldn't be revived and succumbed to his injuries.
He was declared dead on the spot.
Smiley was an old local optometrist and a great family man, according to friends.
Dr. shark bite victim Thomas Smiley (second from the right) can be seen in a 2016 group photo with his colleagues in Sacramento Contact lenses & Optometry in Sacramento, California
He had just retired this year.
It is the first fatal shark attack on Hawaii since 2015, when a snorkeler in Maui was killed.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources of Hawaii placed sharks warning signs for half a mile on either side of the area where the man was attacked, which is a protocol. They stayed in place until Sunday.
This is the sixth shark attack in Hawaii this year, according to the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources. Last year there were only three in total.
A woman was bitten when she was swimming off the coast of Oahu earlier this month. She sustained injuries to her arm and hand.
Smiley had been swimming about 60 meters from the coast near the resort of Kaanapali Shores (photo)
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