22 year old Connecticut woman snorkeling Turks and Caicos has foot bitten off in unprovoked attack. Severed foot could not be re-attached. Woman remains in hospital.
An American tourist had her foot bitten off by a shark while snorkeling in Turks and Caicos – only to forever lose a chance of re-attaching the limb after an emergency aircraft took six hours to arrive.
The 22-year-old woman, from Connecticut, was celebrating her graduation from Yale University with her friend on the Caribbean island when the shark attack happened.
The attack happened in the waters outside the Blue Haven Resort on the island of Providenciales, part of Turks and Caicos.
Quick thinking action saved woman’s life nevertheless her foot could not be re-attached
The victim, whose identity was not been released had signed up to a private ocean tour and had gone snorkeling along Grace Bay Beach, Wednesday at 3pm when she was mauled by what is thought to be a Caribbean Reef Shark, local sources stated.
Photos too shocking to publish revealed the woman’s left foot bitten clean off, still in her flipper. The captain of the boat is said to have dived in to rescue her before she was rushed to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
He then retrieved her foot from the water and put it on ice. However, it was too late to reattach after a six-hour wait for an emergency aircraft to fly the victim, from hospital on the island to a hospital in Miami.
Initial reports told of the woman’s left leg being bitten clean off, with updated reports indicating it was the woman’s left foot that had been severed only.
An employee described her as an ‘impressive young woman’ and said she had just run a marathon in the Netherlands last week.
‘It was a super rare incident. I have been living here for 14 years and there has only been one other incident where there was a shark bite and nothing was ripped off,’ the worker told the dailymail.
‘It’s shocking what happened, I feel heartbroken for her.’
American tourist has leg bitten off by shark in Turks and Caicos https://t.co/sKHcoYgjOU pic.twitter.com/khPQHwVSik
— New York Post (@nypost) May 25, 2023
The woman and her friend were staying at a holiday home her parents owned when they took the private snorkeling trip.
The water was said to be calm and clear before she was attacked.
The captain of the vessel, trained in first aid, applied a tourniquet to her leg and prevented her from bleeding out.
An employee called the police around 3pm to request an ambulance and she was immediately rushed back to the dock where emergency services were waiting for her.
She was taken out of the ocean and put into an ambulance within 15 minutes of the attack, which potentially saved her life.
Turks and Caicos 🇹🇨 pic.twitter.com/ppRNESV7i6
— Travel Itinerary (@Coolmon2009) May 17, 2023
5 fatal shark attacks in 2022
The woman is in stable condition and was set to meet her parents at a hospital in Miami.
Her trip was run by Big Blue Collective, where private dive charters start from $1,795.
And a spokesman from the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources for Turks and Caicos said in part: ‘The matter is still under investigation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
‘Though incidents such as these are highly unusual in the Turks & Caicos Islands, swimmers, snorkelers and divers and boat operators are reminded to exercise caution on the water.’
Shark attacks are extremely rare and the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File recorded just 57 unprovoked bites worldwide last year, five of which were fatal. The study also recorded 32 provoked bites on humans.
“Unprovoked bites” are defined as incidents in which a bite on a live human occurs in the shark’s natural habitat with no human provocation of the shark.
Most shark attacks are said to be mistaken identity when sharks mistake humans for prey.
Tiger sharks are also among the most dangerous sharks for attacks on humans, with National Geographic claiming they are second only to great whites in attacking people.
Experts suggest people stay close to the shore and to swim with a friend in order to stay safe and not to wear shiny jewelry or clothing which can attract sharks.