BOSTON, MA – A tragic incident occurred on Monday when a female tourist from Boston was fatally attacked by a shark while paddleboarding in the Bahamas, according to local law enforcement officials. The attack took place less than a mile off the western coast of New Providence island, near the capital city, Nassau. The victim, whose identity has not yet been released, was accompanied by a male companion who, fortunately, was not injured in the incident, as reported by Police Sgt. Desiree Ferguson.
The lifeguard on duty at the time of the incident managed to rescue both individuals, using a boat to pull them from the water. Despite immediate attempts at CPR, the woman’s life could not be saved due to the severity of the injuries she sustained on the right side of her body. At this time, the shark species involved in the attack remains unidentified, and further comments from the police superintendent are pending.
Gavin Naylor, the program director of the International Shark Attack File in Florida, acknowledged in an interview that a few shark-related fatalities have been reported in the Bahamas over the past five years. He attributed these incidents to the many tourists who frequent the waters, many eager to observe or dive with sharks. He explained that the high tourist population in the Bahamas results in many people in the water, which can lead to increased interactions with sharks.
The Bahamas is home to a diverse range of shark species, with around 30 to 40 species living in the waters surrounding the islands. According to Naylor, the Caribbean reef shark, the bull shark, the tiger shark, and the black tip shark are most likely to bite humans. He explained that most bites are accidental, with the shark mistaking humans for other prey. However, he also noted that on rare occasions, sharks do intentionally target humans.
Fatal shark attacks are relatively rare occurrences, with an average of only five to six reported globally each year. Most of these attacks occur in Australia, with the United States following closely behind. The Bahamas has had at least 33 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks since 1580, which places it ninth in the world for the number of shark attacks.
The Nassau Guardian recently reported that a German woman went missing last month after an apparent shark attack while authorities are still searching for diving. In a similar incident last year, a shark killed a U.S. cruise ship passenger from Pennsylvania who was snorkeling near Green Cay in the northern Bahamas.
Most shark attacks in the Caribbean occur in the Bahamas, although a rare shark attack was reported in the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin three years ago. The frequency of these attacks highlights the potential risks associated with water activities in these regions and underscores the importance of taking necessary precautions when engaging in such activities.