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Woman from Boston killed in shark attack while paddle boarding in Bahamas

Boston woman killed in Bahamas shark attack
Boston woman killed in Bahamas shark attack 01:13

A woman from Boston died after she was attacked by a shark while paddle boarding with a family member in the Bahamas on Monday, police said at a news conference. The woman and male relative were paddle boarding at a resort about three-quarters of a mile away from the shore when she was bitten by the shark, said Royal Bahamas Police Force spokesperson Sergeant Desiree Ferguson. 

A lifeguard on duty who saw the incident went out in a boat to rescue the pair, Ferguson said. 

"CPR was administered to the victim. However, she suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the right hip region and also her right upper limb," Ferguson said.  

The victim was declared dead after emergency responders determined she showed no vital signs. Bahamas police later said she was identified as 44-year-old Lauren Erickson Van Wart.

Fatal shark attack against a tourist at Sandals resort in Nassau
Mortuary services personnel transport the body of a female tourist after what police described as a fatal shark attack in waters near Sandals Royal Bahamian resort, in Nassau, Bahamas December 4, 2023. DANTE CARRER / REUTERS

The attack comes just one day after a 26-year-old woman died after she was bitten by a shark in Mexico as she swam with her young daughter.

Shark attacks are rare in the Bahamas, but several have been reported in recent months.  

Last month, a 47-year-old German woman went missing during a diving trip off West End, Grand Bahama, after encountering a shark, Reuters reported, citing police.  

In June, a woman from Iowa was attacked by a shark while scuba diving in the Bahamas, resulting in her leg being amputated.

In September 2022, another tourist from the U.S. was killed by a shark in the Bahamas while snorkeling. The 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was a passenger on the Harmony of the Seas cruise ship and was taking part in an excursion at a popular spot near Green Cay when she was attacked by a bull shark. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died. 

More than 50 species of sharks are found along the East Coast and in the Caribbean Sea, including tiger, hammerhead and Caribbean reef sharks, according to NOAA. 

According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 108 alleged shark-human interactions in 2022 worldwide. The U.S. reported the most confirmed unprovoked attacks — 41 — with Florida being the state with the most at 16.

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