A shark killed a woman snorkeling in the Bahamas on Tuesday, September 6. The tourist was from Pennsylvania. She was traveling with her family via a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. She arrived in Nassau on Tuesday morning after setting sail from Florida Sunday and was participating snorkeling day excursion when a bull shark attacked her, according to her family.
Other snorkelers, including the woman’s family members, and tour operators tried to intercede—to no avail. The 58-year-old woman sustained life-threatening injuries to the left side of her body. “After arriving at a local hospital for treatment, the guest passed away from injuries,” Royal Caribbean stated in a press release, as reported by ABC News. “Royal Caribbean is providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
“[Bull sharks] get to very large sizes, and they eat big prey,” Michael Heithaus, Florida International University marine biologist told the Associated Press.
Most shark conflicts in the Caribbean take place in the Bahamas, but they are rare. Only 32 have been reported in the area since 1749. Worldwide, there were 137 shark bites in 2021 alone. [Update: In February 2023, a great white shark decapitated a diver in Mexico.] Seventy-three of them were unprovoked and 11 of them were fatal, according to International Shark Attack File. In 2021, surfers were involved in 51 percent of shark attacks. Swimmers accounted for 39 percent, body surfers for 6 percent, and snorkelers for 4 percent.
There are 548 types of sharks globally, but only 13 of those, including great white, tiger, and bull sharks, are known to bite people. Earlier this summer, an 8-year-old boy survived a rare nurse shark attack in the Bahamas.