An American tourist was killed in a shark attack Tuesday in the Bahamas.
The woman was snorkeling with a group of five to seven relatives when a bull shark attacked her shortly after 2 p.m. at Green Cay, Royal Bahamas Police Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings said at a news conference. The area is about a half-mile northwest of Rose Island, a private island off Nassau.
While authorities have not released the victim's name, the woman's employer identified her as Caroline DiPlacido. The employer, Gannon University, said she was vacationing with her family in the Bahamas at the time of the attack.
"Caroline was a powerful presence of kindness and friendship to colleagues, students, and the wider community and cherished many family ties to Gannon," the school's chaplain said in a message to the university, where DiPlacido was a project coordinator for the Erie campus’ office of community and government relations. "The news is devastating, and she will be missed."
The woman, who officials said was 58, had no vital signs after the attack, Skippings said.
She arrived in the Bahamas on a cruise ship Tuesday morning, Skippings said. A private tour boat took her group snorkeling off Rose Island.
Family members witnessed the attack. Along with a tour operator, they pulled her from the water and took her by boat to Fort Montagu on Nassau, Skippings said.
The area was cordoned off and closed indefinitely to snorkelers.
"It's just an unfortunate situation," Skippings said.
According to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, the last recorded shark attack in the Bahamas was in 2018. It says bull sharks are among the most common when it comes to unprovoked attacks on humans.
They are large, capable of inflicting serious injuries, commonly found in areas where humans enter the water, and have teeth designed to shear rather than hold, the museum says in a primer on species.