Pennsylvania woman killed by bull shark while snorkeling in Bahamas

A woman was killed by a shark Tuesday while snorkeling in the Bahamas during a vacation with her family, local authorities said.

The victim, whom authorities have not identified, was a 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, Royal Bahamas Police Force Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings told the Associated Press.

“It’s unfortunate,” Skippings said.

Earlier that day, the family — passengers traveling aboard Harmony of the Seas, a seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise — booked a private snorkeling tour with a local company that took them to Green Cay off Nassau, Skippings said during a news conference.

While snorkeling, family members witnessed what they identified as a bull shark attacking the woman, Skippings said. The family alerted the tour company, then the party of about 5 to 7 people and boat operators pulled the woman from the water, authorities said.

Shark bites are rare — but two just happened on the same day in S.C.

The woman suffered injuries to her upper body.

“Sadly, the guest passed away after arriving at a hospital for treatment,” a Royal Caribbean International spokesperson told The Washington Post in a statement. “Royal Caribbean International is providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones at this time.”

The cruise departed from Port Canaveral, Fla., on Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know about shark attacks and how to fight back if you’re trapped. (Video: Alice Li/The Washington Post)

Despite the attention shark attacks receive each summer, they are rare. Last year, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File investigated 137 alleged interactions humans had with sharks worldwide. Of those, 73 were deemed unprovoked shark attack bites on humans and 39 were catalogued as provoked bites.

If a shark were to get near you, the Florida-based organization recommends keeping eye contact with the shark and slowly moving away. If it’s possible, the swimmer should leave the water.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the beach where the attack happened was closed “for any type of snorkeling activities,” Skippings said at the news conference. It is unclear when and if the beach will reopen, she added. Skippings did not provide details of the attack.

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