Officials in Hawaii have concluded that a shark attack was to blame for the disappearance of a 60-year-old woman earlier this month, calling it a “tragic accident.”
Last week, authorities released the findings of collaborative investigations into the disappearance of a woman from Washington State who went missing while snorkeling with her husband earlier this month. According to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), both their office and the Maui Police Department reached “the same basic conclusion.”
On Dec. 8, officials responded to reports of a shark attack at Keawakepu Beach and began searching for the missing woman, according to the DLNR.
“Officers interviewed the missing woman’s husband who said he encountered an ‘aggressive’ shark shortly after entering the water to snorkel about 50-yards off-shore,” the department said in a statement.
Neither the woman nor her husband have been publicly identified.
The man said that “as the shark continued to circle him he continued looking for his wife and thought that she might have been diving toward the ocean floor,” the statement continued.
After the shark swam away, the man told officers that he kept looking for his wife. Though he didn’t find her, he “did spot something in the distance,” the department said.
When the shark returned, the man told investigators, “he could see something red around the shark’s gills,” according to the DLNR.
“At that time, he said people on the beach began yelling at him to get out of the water because a shark was feeding in the area,” their statement also said.
RELATED VIDEO: Woman Dies Mid-Flight After Suffering Heart Attack While Traveling from Houston to London
Officials also noted that the husband’s account was corroborated by an eyewitness on the beach “who said he saw a large shark feeding on something in the water.”
“Earlier [the eyewitness had] spotted the couple snorkeling and began looking for them to warn them,” authorities wrote. After seeing a “red cloud in the water,” the eyewitness “continued yelling for the man to get out of the water but no longer was seeing the woman.”
The body of the missing woman has yet to be recovered, and a search was called off on the afternoon of Dec. 9, after officials saw a large shark in the area.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
A report from the investigating officer of the department’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) found that based on the evidence, the “tragic accident” was classified as “shark attack-fatal.”
Meanwhile, the Maui Police Department’s report classified her disappearance as a “miscellaneous accident-fatal.”
As the statement continued, the DLNR spoke out against “conspiracy theories” which had “exacerbated” the family’s grief.
Without going into details, officials wrote that “misinformation which spread quickly on social media platforms, suggesting that this was something other than what it was.”
“DLNR is asking people who post misinformation and conspiracy theories anonymously to stop and think about how they’d react if they were in the same situation,” they added. “Social media can either be a powerful tool for sharing information or a mouthpiece for tremendously hurtful and inaccurate comments directed toward people who are dealing with a tragedy.”