More Holes in Story of 2 Women Lost at Sea
Shark experts say tiger sharks wouldn't ram a boat for hours
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2017 11:50 AM CDT
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Jennifer Appel, right, and Tasha Fuiava sit with their dogs on the deck of the USS Ashland Monday at the White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan.   (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)
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(Newser) – Two women from Hawaii who were rescued after being lost at sea are defending their account of the ordeal, even as the inconsistencies build. Tuesday brought news of their decision not to turn on the emergency beacon they had on board—they reportedly said they didn't do so because they didn't fear imminent death—and the AP outlines other holes in their story via the Coast Guard and maritime experts. One big one involves sharks. The women's description of 20- to 30-foot tiger sharks ramming their boat in a coordinated attack for more than six hours could simply be a misperception, but scientists who study sharks say that behavior has never been recorded and that tiger sharks grow to only about 17 feet in length.

University of Hawaii professor and veteran shark researcher Kim Holland has never heard of any kind of shark repeatedly attacking a boat hull throughout a night. He also said tiger sharks never jump out of the water and don't make coordinated attacks. Sometimes sharks will congregate around a food source like a whale carcass, but Holland said that was unlikely in this case "if there's nothing there to attract the animals. I mean, this is just an inert boat hull." Another inconsistency: Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava said they filed a float plan listing their course and other details with some friends and relatives. However, in an interview with the Coast Guard, the women said they had filed no float plan.


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