An Irvine high school's gym teacher who rescued a woman from a shark attack on Maui was honored with a medal for heroism Wednesday. Sadly, the woman was not there to cheer on 57-year-old Richard Irvin "Rick" Moore of Laguna Niguel; the German 20-year-old did not survive her injuries.
Here is how the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in Pittsburgh, PA, described Moore's heroism:
RICHARD IRVIN MOORE
Laguna Niguel, California
Richard Irvin Moore rescued Jana Lutteropp from a shark attack, Wailea, Hawaii, August 14, 2013. Lutteropp, 20, was snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean at a point about 150 feet from shore when a shark, thought by authorities to be a tiger shark about 12 feet long, attacked her, severing her right arm near the shoulder. From the beach, Moore, 57, high school teacher, heard Lutteropp scream and saw that she was in bloodied water. He ran into the water and then swam out to her. Securing a hold of her, Moore backstroked toward shore and then in wadable water handed her over to another man, who returned her to the beach. Moore and others then carried Lutteropp to an access road, from which she was taken to the hospital. She died there a week later of effects of her injury.
Moore, who teaches at Creekside High School, was among 22 people honored with medals and cash awards from the organization named for Pittsburgh industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was inspired by stories of heroism during a coal mine disaster that killed 181 people, including a miner and an engineer who died trying to rescue others.
Lutteropp, whose mother in Germany described her as "a very beautiful, strong, young woman who was always laughing," had been working as a nanny on Maui and was a month away from returning home.
She is now being remembered as the first person to die from a shark attack in Hawaii in more than nine years. The waters off the Islands have experienced a spike in shark v. human encounters in recent years, including one involving a California woman who was hospitalized with bite marks to her face and torso after a July 31, 2013, attack at South Maui's Ulua Beach.