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Boston woman killed in shark attack in Bahamas, police say

Woman was paddle-boarding with a relative when she was bitten by shark, according to police

People gather on the resort pier after what police described as a fatal shark attack against a tourist at Sandals Royal Bahamian resort in Nassau, Bahamas.Dante Carrer/REUTERS

A Boston woman on a trip to the Bahamas was killed in a shark attack Monday while she was paddle-boarding about three quarters of a mile offshore, according to police in the Caribbean island nation.

The woman was on the water with a male relative near a resort on the western side of New Providence island when she was bitten, Royal Bahamas Police Force Sergeant Desiree Ferguson told reporters, according to a video of the briefing.

Police were alerted to a report of a shark attack shortly after 11:15 a.m., Ferguson said. She identified the victim as a “female visitor from Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.” The woman’s name was not released. Bahamas Local reported that she was 44 years old.

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Police officers walk on the beach after what police described as a fatal shark attack against a tourist at Sandals Royal Bahamian resort.Dante Carrer/REUTERS

A lifeguard spotted the victim and her relative in the water and went out in a rescue boat to help them, 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.

Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and assessed the victim, declaring “that she showed no vital signs of life,” Ferguson said.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences on behalf of our commissioner and the Royal Bahamas Police Force for this most unfortunate situation,” she said.

No further information was released. Officials with the Royal Bahama Police Force did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The attack happened near Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Cable Beach, according to WCVB-TV.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of a guest while on a paddleboarding activity nearly a mile from the shore,” Sandals Resorts said in a statement to the station. “We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the guest’s family and loved ones. We remain in close contact with them and are providing all support possible during this difficult time.”

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Sandals Resorts did not respond to an inquiry from the Globe on Monday evening.

Gavin Naylor, director of the International Shark Attack File in Florida, told the Associated Press that between 30 to 40 shark species live in the waters around the Bahamas, with the Caribbean reef shark, the bull shark, the tiger shark, and the black tip shark having the highest bite frequency. He said fatal shark attacks are rare, with just five to six reported worldwide each year.

Naylor’s organization reported 57 unprovoked shark bites worldwide in 2022, of which five resulted in death. The majority of attacks were in the United States, with 41, including one fatality, followed by Australia with nine.

Naylor told the AP that sharks in the Bahamas, a major tourist destination, have grown acclimated to people and “the animals are a little bit less cautious than they otherwise might be.” He said there have been a couple of fatalities from shark bites in the past five years in the region.

“Usually, it’s an accidental bite. They think it’s something else,” he said. “Once in a while, they’ll actually single out people, and it’s very intentional.”

Mortuary services personnel transport the body of a female tourist.Dante Carrer/REUTERS


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com.