September 24, 2023

(WTNH) — A Connecticut girl is in critical situation after she was bitten by a shark whereas snorkeling in Turks and Caicos, authorities stated.

Authorities within the Royal Turks and Caicos stated the lady and her pal have been on a personal snorkeling journey round 3 p.m. native time Wednesday when the lady was attacked by the shark.

The girl was “severely injured” within the assault, the native Division of Surroundings and Coastal Sources (DECR) stated. An worker at a close-by resort who contacted police after the incident claimed the lady “had her leg bitten off by a shark,” in response to a information launch from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Pressure. Authorities, nevertheless, haven’t confirmed the extent of the sufferer’s accidents.

The DECR stated the ladies have been on the Bone Yard dive web site in Princess Alexandra Nationwide Park, a marine-protected space within the islands, on Wednesday afternoon. The 2 mates have been the one folks within the water when a presumed Caribbean reef shark attacked the sufferer in what officers described as “a case of mistaken identification,” which means the shark could have believed the lady was an animal normally hunted for prey.

A dive boat captain contacted emergency officers and jumped into motion instantly after the assault, authorities stated.

The captain took the ladies again into the boat and rushed them to shore the place an ambulance was ready. The sufferer was taken to Cheshire Corridor Medical Centre in Providenciales in critical situation, police stated.

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The girl was later airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, in response to authorities. There was no replace on her situation as of Friday morning.

David Cochran, a shark professional at Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium, stated this incident serves as an necessary reminder as summer time and trip season begins.

“It’s extra doubtless that it was a big shark,” Cochran stated. “They’ve huge stress of their jaws, and that’s what may cause an damage like that. Quite a lot of time, once we’re out swimming or snorkeling or scuba diving, particularly near the floor, we are able to actually resemble a traditional prey merchandise for the shark.”

Cochran suggested vacationers to “be aware of your atmosphere and your environment” when embarking on a snorkeling or diving expedition.

Specialists additionally suggest staying calm throughout a shark sighting, as sudden actions (thrashing, screaming) give off indicators of prey. Anybody who sees a shark ought to get out of the water and inform others within the neighborhood.

“Although incidents akin to these are extremely uncommon within the Turks & Caicos Islands, swimmers, snorkelers and divers, and boat operators are reminded to train warning on the water,” the Division of Surroundings and Coastal Sources stated.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Pressure is investigating the circumstances surrounding the assault.