Tuesday, March 23, 1999

By Gary T. Kubota, Star-Bulletin
Manouchehr Monazzami-Taghadom, speaking from his
bed at Maui Memorial Hospital, said that a shark attacked
his wife, and she "died in front of me."

Visitor tells
of shark attack,
wife’s death

'She left everything for me,'
says the man whose honeymoon
ended kayaking off Maui

By Gary T. Kubota


WAILUKU -- She was a gynecologist who left Iran to be with him in Sunnyvale, Calif.

He was a computer engineer who wanted to show his love and appreciation for her sacrifice by taking her on a honeymoon to Maui.

Just a day after their honeymoon on the Valley Isle began, a windblown kayak took the couple into the deep ocean, where 29-year-old Nahid Davoodabai was attacked by a shark and died, said her husband, Manouchehr Monazzami-Taghadom.

Maui detectives, who have classified the incident as a missing person case, retrieved the kayak yesterday from Kahoolawe.

Police Capt. Victor Tengan said there was no visible evidence of an attack, such as teeth marks on the kayak.

"We're going to be examining it a lot closer," Tengan said.

Monazzami-Taghadom, recovering from exposure yesterday at Maui Memorial Hospital, recalled how his wife loved the waters off Maui and was happy riding a rented kayak with him off a beach near the Lahaina pali.

He said they paddled a kayak for about three hours Thursday afternoon before resting and beginning again. Then the wind and current shifted, pushing them away from shore.

"We tried and tried and tried to paddle. We tried everything we could to bring us back to shore," he said. "We started yelling. I guess people couldn't hear us."

By about 8 or 8:30 p.m., they were far from shore and drifting, and he and his wife were in the water, hanging on to the rope of the kayak, which had tipped in heavy wind and waves.

"It's getting very scary. I told my wife now that it's dark, they cannot find us. We have just to hold onto this kayak until morning," he said.

"My wife yelled 'shark.' She was pulled down under the water and came back up right away."

He said his wife told him her arm was gone, and he pushed her onto the kayak.

"I waited for the shark to come back, but nothing happened," he said.

He said he used the string from his swim trunks to make a tourniquet, and he squeezed her arm with both hands to stop the bleeding.

He said she started hallucinating, asking him if he could love a wife with one arm, and he replied, "I want to be with you, period."

"Then she just passed out and died in front of me," he said.

Monazzami-Taghadom said he kept her body with him for the next couple of hours, but the heavy winds and waves struck the kayak once more and turned it over.

"I couldn't find her. I lost her. She was gone," he said.

He drifted on the kayak until the late morning of the next day, when the kayak reached Kahoolawe.

He said he wandered on Kahoolawe until he arrived at a bunker near a satellite dish Saturday night. He rested, and in the morning he found a telephone and called the police emergency number.

Monazzami-Taghadom said Nahid had been his wife for about a year and had been in the United States about eight months.

"She left everything behind. She left everything for me," he said.

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