A 22-year-old American tourist has had her leg bitten off by a shark while snorkelling in the Caribbean.
The woman, who has not been named but is known to be from Connecticut, was with a friend outside the Blue Haven Resort, off Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, when the life changing attack took place.
She was taken to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on the island, where she remains in a serious condition; however it seems her companion escaped unhurt.
Providenciales, with its award-winning Grace Bay beach located on the north east coast, has clear turquoise water and an extensive barrier reef, making it a hugely popular tourist destination.
Emergency services quickly alerted
The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said in a statement: “At around 3.07pm on Wednesday 24 May, an employee at the resort in the vicinity of Leeward Marina, requested urgent ambulance assistance for a woman, reporting that the victim had her leg bitten off by a shark.”
A Blue Haven spokesperson said in a statement: “Our understanding is that the woman was the guest of another resort and the client of a boat excursion company, neither of which we are affiliated with, nor located near.” It is being suggested that the incident is as a result of what the company refer to in diving circles “a case of mistaken identity.”
Reef shark believed to be responsible
Blue Collective, the water sports company confirmed the attack. “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance within 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation,” was the statement that they released. Thy also indicated that they believe that the attack was carried out by a Caribbean reef shark.
Excellent previous safety stats
The seas around the Turks and Caicos Islands are home to not only reef sharks, but also at least 20 other members of species. These include: Nurse sharks, Whale sharks, Hammerhead sharks, Tiger sharks, Bull sharks, and Lemon sharks.
Until this latest incident there has previously only been three recorded shark attacks on humans in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and none of those cases resulted in fatalities, or indeed any loss of limbs.