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The shark attack happened near to Rose Island, pictured in this Google Maps satellite image.

The shark attack happened near to Rose Island, pictured in this Google Maps satellite image.

By RIEL MAJOR

Tribune Staff Reporter

rmajor@tribunemedia.net

AN American woman is dead after a shark attack near Rose Island yesterday.

Police said the woman was snorkeling around 2pm when she was attacked. The victim, believed to be 22 years old, was taken to the shore and then to Doctors Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A woman, who claimed to have witnessed the victim being loaded into an ambulance, said it appeared the woman’s legs had been chewed off. “Oh God, I saw her being lifted into the ambulance by Texaco on East Bay today,” the woman posted in a popular Facebook group. “She was limp. I said a silent prayer but it didn’t look good. Looks like her legs were off. May her soul rest in peace. These sharks are becoming more and more agitated and I don’t understand why. It was never this way before.”

The Ministry of Tourism issued condolences to the woman’s family over the incident and said precautionary advisories had been issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“Details are still being gathered and confirmed, but preliminary reports indicate that the female visitor was snorkeling near Rose Island around 2pm when the incident occurred,” the ministry noted.

“She was brought to shore and transported to hospital in New Providence, where she was pronounced dead. The victim’s identity is being withheld pending confirmation of notification of next of kin. Investigations into the incident are ongoing and further details will be released when available. In the meantime, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources has issued precautionary advisories to the public.”

Fatal shark attacks in the Bahamas are rare though the country has historically averaged several non-fatal attacks per year.

According to The Tribune’s records, the last confirmed fatal shark attack was on February 24, 2008 when Markus Groh, 49, died a day after a shark bit his leg. The lawyer from Vienna was in Bahamian waters.

On July 13, 2014 American chiropractor Dr John Petty, 63, of Longview, Texas, disappeared while diving with eight others from the Shear Water during a shark dive expedition at Tiger Beach, Grand Bahama. His camera and shredded dive gear were recovered from the water. His body was never found.

Yesterday a diving expert, speaking anonymously, told The Tribune shark attacks are rare in the country because of the clear waters.

“Sharks can see the prey that they are going after,” he said. “Sharks in the Bahamas eat primarily fish, not mammals like seals or walrus and therefore usually have no interest in humans.”

He continued: “Shark attacks are usually survivable because sharks make investigatory bites and will circle around before deciding what they had just tasted was actually consumable. The time between the initial bite and making the decision to carry through with the attack often gives the person time to escape or be rescued.”

The diving expert said circumstances change if the water is murky, if people are catching fish nearby, if someone cleaned fish in the area and the scent is in the water, if the person was spearfishing or if the shark was baited into the location.

“With any one of the above in place, the attack will be more direct and potentially more serious. The more of the circumstances listed above that are in place add to the intentionality and severity of the attack,” he explained.

“Sharks in the Bahamas are typically not of a size to consume an entire person. However, if the attack severs an artery, without advanced medical assistance the person can bleed out and die from blood loss.

“There is one species of shark in Bahamian waters that is aggressive enough and grows big enough to render an instantly fatal attack. The Tiger shark often grows to ten feet and females can grow to 16 feet. Tiger sharks are known to have the widest food spectrum of all species of sharks and unprovoked attacks on humans have been reported. An intentional attack from a ten to 16-foot shark will usually not end well.”

The diver stated that the Bahamas realised the value of sharks to the environment and have taken steps to educate the public and implement measures to protect the animals.

He said: “The Bahamas Shark Sanctuary was created in July of 2011 by adding an amendment to the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Chapter 244). The amendment created shark protections throughout all the territorial waters of the Bahamas, over 650,000 square kilometers of ocean. It was a major win for sharks, who already benefit from the long-line ban of 1992.”

According to the Florida Museum, the International Shark Attack File investigated 130 incidents of alleged shark-human interactions occurring worldwide in 2018. Most reports acknowledge five fatal attacks in 2018.

The Bahamas National Trust has called the Bahamas the “shark diving capital” of the world.

Comments

bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Shark Diving capital of the world? It is throwing caution to the wind. You have a 50% chance of being bitten every time you swim with a shark, period. I don't care what the paper says . For the victim, it is 100%. Why are we picking up snakes and wondering why they bite us? When you picked me up, you knew I was a snake.

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B_I_D___ 3 months, 2 weeks ago

50% chance...what an idiotic statement. Guess I am beating the odds as I have swum with sharks hundreds of times. As stated in the article, assuming there are no added circumstances, such as fish cleaning, spearing, chumming of waters, etc, the sharks in these waters will recognize you are not their food group and leave you alone. Get blood in that water though and the game and odds most definitely change and NOT in your favour.

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bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Hello, look at the comment at the bottom of your comment. Whenever you leave your house, there is a 50% chance you will get into a car accident. Whenever a police officer goes to work, there is a 50% chance he or she will not come back home. That is all I am saying. No one knows what truly attracts sharks to humans, not even the so called " experts". Give us another 100 years and " the experts" will say that we were wrong all this time, just like the " experts" in the medical profession change their outlook on different diseases. So , is it I who is ignorant or you.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You the one making numbers up. Bout 50% chance of not coming back home....

And yes marine scientists know exactly why sharks SOMETIMES attack humans.....

Yeah buddy sorry but you is the ignant one....

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BigSlick 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Statistics is not your strong suit is it?

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jt 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, you do not understand probability at all. I’ve dived with sharks dozens of times, I must be a ghost now.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

So are you are saying 50% of everyone that goes to work every morning get into a car accident? Are you saying that 50% of all police officers that show up to work every day will not go back home? gross exaggeration. On the other hand, the nature of sharks has been changed. Sharks were first curious of humans then they would swim away. But now they associate humans with being fed And when this does not happen, they attack. Sharks are predators and seasoned divers know you are to show them respect and never try to get to close or become friends. Show them respect and get away at the first opportunity.

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Tycebruurs83 3 months, 1 week ago

I’d estimate a 50% chance your IQ is below 85

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tell_it_like_it_is 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yeah that's definitely an exaggeration.
It all depends on the type of sharks we are dealing with.
Nurse sharks are not aggressive at all and I swam with those sharks before.

Bull sharks are extremely aggressive because of their high testosterone levels. I suggest watching Shark Week in July 2019 on Discovery channel. They always feature The Bahamas. There's a lot of good information to learn about sharks and I watch it every year.

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bahaymeeun 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Snorkeling anywhere in the Bahamas is taking somewhat of a chance of being attacked by a shark. Let's guess that 1/3 of our 6 million tourists go snorkeling per year. Maybe 1 attack a year. That's a 1 in two million chance of getting bit. Lots go swim with the nurse sharks at Compass Cay. They get about 2 to 3 bites a day there. Not bad bites as they have small teeth, but that's what sharks do. Swim in the sea at your own risk unfortunately! I really feel sad for this family.

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joeblow 3 months, 2 weeks ago

While this is unfortunate it is still safer to swim and snorkel in our waters than to catch a small plane to the family islands!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

“Sharks can see the prey that they are going after,” he said. “Sharks in the Bahamas eat primarily fish, not mammals like seals or walrus and therefore usually have no interest in humans.”

A diving expert is not a shark expert. Recent studies by shark experts of the aggressiveness of sharks in very warm waters have revealed that their acuity of vision may be seriously impaired by water temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

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B_I_D___ 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Rumors going around social media just now that Stuart Cove's has a new charter concept running out of the harbor and does baited shark dives in the vicinity of Rose Island. May be completely false, but that is what is circulating at the moment.

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Dawes 3 months, 2 weeks ago

If true i hope Government for once does something smart and bans them straight away. Sure have shark dives but no baiting etc. And if there must be baited do it far far away from land.

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gbgal 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Has the Ministry of Tourism our shark spotters on our main beaches yet? Maybe they should. Outlaw the shark feeding business too. Can't imagine how the family is dealing with the loss. Such a tragedy! Sincere condolences to them.

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EdwardThatch 3 months, 2 weeks ago

While it's still uncertain if shark feeding resulting in this attack, feeding, especially near to shore, is a recipe for disaster. It's an activity that jeopardizes swimmers for small commercial gain. It should only (if at all) be permitted well offshore. A quick google search of "shark attacks Bahamas" reveals pages of horrific reports. Yes, that is a result of recent sensationalized incidents, and yes, statistically speaking shark fatalities remain rare, but taking measures to save one life is worth the small inconvenience of moving shark tours offshore. One more attack and we will begin to suffer the same fate as the Dominican in terms of media coverage, regardless of the actual number of attacks. All it will take is one headline that twists "Shark diving capital of the world" to "Shark attack capital of the world" to change the global narrative of our county.

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proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I wonder if a dead reef could be a contributing factor? Shark was hunting but Rose's reefs are all dead and void of fish. Might be the shark was just hungry and couldn't find anything over there to eat. Last time I dove off of Rose I was shocked at how dead the reef was....

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Echo 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Being a protected species here, sharks should not be fed or baited by humans. It’s common knowledge that Sturt Cove, along with others, have been feeding the sharks and exploiting them for shark dives for tourist. Make a law against feeding sharks, or start culling the population, as they have no natural predators. I can foresee more attacks in the future if people continue to bait sharks and they become increasingly comfortable with human contact.

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genetk44 3 months, 2 weeks ago

How long do you think this sharkfeeding has been going on for in the Bahamas?

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Karma is a bitch ......... White people come here and force us to "protect the sharks" ...... Then the white tourists come here and the sharks eat them ........ KARMA is a bitch.

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Dawes 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice person aren't you. I doubt this young lady has ever said anything about sharks in the Bahamas. But hey if it makes you happy to be like this carry on and be miserable.

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jt 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sharks contribute over $100 million annually to our economy thanks to this protection. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research...">https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research...

Attacks are extremely rare.

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jt 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes! Finally someone speaks the truth. White people are responsible for shark attacks! Also earthquakes, bee sting allergies, choking incidents, splinters, those blisters you get from a new pair of shoes, missing socks, and paper cuts. Not dogs turning on their owners, though, that’s the Asians.

WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

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sealice 3 months, 2 weeks ago

We need to protect the Sharks from the Humans (Stuart Cove and Blue Lagoon) who are feeding them and training them to like the way we taste......

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

For those us out islanders comrades.growing up respectfully swim among sharks, a glance at the total number 2018 shark attacks worldwide speaks against ringing alarm bells our swimming tourists.. The worldwide total of confirmed 'unprovoked' shark attacks was a total of "66", yes, no............probably riskier swim pigs...........still its your responsibility educate yourself with the common sense safer swimming precautions follow whenever entering anywhere in known shark inhabited waters.

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B_I_D___ 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You have a higher risk of death due to complications from injuries falling out of your bed.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma comrade BID,occasionally when out diving I have bumped into buddy sharks mine I've swam among since childhood, and they are nowhere be found on days any 35 red shirts MP's are anywhere within miles we colony's sea waters, yes, no............talk about fear............

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Death resulting from "unprovoked" shark attack amounted but a 'single death' worldwide in 2018, yes, no......... how many "uncounted and unprovoked" Haitian woman's and children's have been eaten alive by sharks in waters Colony of Out Islands same year 2018............

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 2 weeks ago

A most sad and terrifying incident. But you've got to hand it to the sharks.....they would rather eat us than the loads of shiit being dumped in our waters by Carnival's cruise ships.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"Sharks in the Bahamas eat primarily fish, not mammals like seals or walrus and therefore usually have no interest in humans."

The experts always begin with this. But I wonder if the sharks simply eat what's there. If us Bahamians were more abundant in the water, maybe sharks would be spitting out seals. Do we have walruses in the Bahamas?

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma come ThisIsOurs, for the record answer your walruses question is indeed since May 10, 2017 there have been at least dozen reported sightings "KP" swimming in and about colony of out islands sea waters, yes, no............

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

So are you are saying 50% of everyone that goes to work every morning get into a car accident? Are you saying that 50% of all police officers that show up to work every day will not go back home? gross exaggeration. On the other hand, the nature of sharks has been changed. Sharks were first curious of humans then they would swim away. But now they associate humans with being fed And when this does not happen, they attack. Sharks are predators and seasoned divers know you are to show them respect and never try to get to close or become friends. Show them respect and get away at the first opportunity.

Upvote0

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juju 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Dio please ban chumming sharks for tourists, and someone please educate the BNT.

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Bonefishpete 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrade you gotta stop rewinding that Jaws video, yes, no........ starting from my 10th birthday I have had face-to face encounters many hundreds these beautiful, docile sea creatures and never have I felt in danger, not even once....................

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concerned799 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Are we going to ban the feeding of sharks for tourists?

And what is the BNT position on this?

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Not single comrade blogger called for the banning of 'Shark fin soup', yes, no

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