US woman killed by shark while paddleboarding in Bahamas

People gathered at a pier near the scene of the shark attack in Bahamas.
Image caption,People gathered at a pier near the scene of the shark attack in Bahamas.

By Bernd Debusmann Jr

BBC News, Washington

A US woman was killed by a shark while paddleboarding in the Bahamas on Monday, according to local police.

The unidentified 44-year-old victim from Boston was attacked less than a mile off the shore of New Providence island, where the Bahamian capital of Nassau is located.

A male relative who was in the water with her was uninjured.

There were 57 unprovoked shark attacks recorded last year globally, according to International Shark Attack File.

At a news conference on Monday, Royal Bahamas Police Force spokesperson Sgt Desiree Ferguson told reporters that a lifeguard at the nearby Sandals resort saw the incident and rushed out to help.

The victim was brought back to shore and CPR was administered, but was declared dead at the scene.

According to Sgt Ferguson, she suffered “serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the rip hip region and also her right upper limb”.

It is unclear what kind of shark attacked the woman. The BBC has reached out to the Royal Bahamas Police Force for comment.

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A local jet ski operator told the local Nassau Guardian newspaper that the woman was a newlywed, although police have not confirmed that.

The incident came just days after a Mexican woman swimming with her young daughter was killed after being bitten in the leg by a shark on the country’s Pacific coast.

Several other recent incidents have also taken place in the Bahamas.

Last month, a 47-year-old German woman went missing after encountering a shark, according to local police. In another incident in June, a US woman had to have her leg amputated after being attacked by a shark while Scuba diving.

Statistics from the Florida-based International Shark Attack File show that only about 32 unprovoked shark attacks have been reported in the Bahamas since 1749.

Globally, the odds of being killed by a shark are about 1 in 4.3 million, according to the file.

There were 57 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks globally in 2022, as well as 32 provoked ones. Surfers and others involved in board spots accounted for 35% of the cases, compared to 43% for swimmers and waders.

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