While celebrating her Yale graduation in Turks and Caicos, an unnamed American tourist was attacked by what is believed to be a reef shark. The creature’s bite severed her foot, which unfortunately could not be reattached due to the emergency flight taking six hours to arrive.
What Led to the Tourist Being Attacked by a Shark?
American tourist seriously injured in a shark attack in Turks and Caicos, authorities say. https://t.co/oMXzvqC6Pa— ABC News (@ABC) May 25, 2023
The victim and her friend were swimming off Grace Bay Beach during a boat tour when the incident occurred. The first aid-trained boat captain promptly dove into the water to rescue her.
He applied a tourniquet to her leg, and she was afterwards rushed to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre.
Finding the Missing Foot
After applying the tourniquet, the boat captain dove back into the water to locate the victim’s foot, which was still in its flipper. Thankfully, he was able to retrieve it, so he placed it in a bucket of ice to preserve it for eventual reattachment.
Unfortunately, because the emergency aircraft did not arrive for another six hours, the foot was unable to be reattached.
What makes the incident even more sad is that the victim was an avid runner, having just run a marathon in the Netherlands a week prior.
An Uncommon Occurrence
Shark attacks are extremely rare, with only 57 unprovoked bites being reported worldwide in 2022.
One resident told the Daily Mail, “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.”
A representative of the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources added, “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.”
Another Shark Attack on Vacation
The Yale graduate’s story, while not common, is unfortunately not the only recent instance of a shark attack whilst the victim was on vacation.
Recently, 73 year-old Iowa native Heidi Ernst was vacationing in the Bahamas when her leg was bitten by a shark. As a result, the limb had to be amputated.
She had a surprisingly positive attitude towards the experience, telling The Gazette, “I don’t blame the shark. The shark knew that there was food to be had at a boat. And he thought my leg was the food.”
Her family has set up a GoFundMe to assist Heidi in covering medical expenses.