A NEWLYWED who was mauled to death by a shark on her honeymoon has been identified.
Van Wart, who was visiting from Boston, Massachusetts, and her husband were rescued by a lifeguard who administered CPR.
“She suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the right hip region and also her right upper limb,” Sgt Desiree Ferguson from the Royal Bahamas Police Force said.
Van Wart was pronounced dead at the scene after she showed “no vital signs of life,” said police.
The two were about three-quarters of a mile away from the shore at the time of the attack.
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Van Wart had gotten married only a day before and was at the resort to celebrate her honeymoon.
A jet ski operator was at the beach when Van Wart was attacked and told The Nassau Guardian he saw a 14-foot-long shark that pulled the woman’s paddleboard underwater.
“When I saw it was only the guy standing on the board, I said (to myself), she must have fallen off. Then you could actually hear the faint shouts of him screaming for help” he told the outlet.
“It was crazy because I watched them push out from the beach. They [were] side by side and laughing and talking. They just got married yesterday.”
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In a statement, the Sandals resort said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of a guest while on a paddleboarding activity nearly a mile from the shore.”
Gavin Naylor, program director of the International Shark Attack File in Florida, called Van Wart’s death out of the ordinary, especially since she was paddleboarding at the time instead of surfing.
“It was a bit of a surprise that she was paddleboarding,” he told local Fox affiliate WFXT.
“Surfers get bitten far more frequently than paddleboarders because they are lying down and they are splashing.”
It’s unknown at this time what kind of shark attacked Van Wart, however, tiger sharks and bull sharks frequent the coast of the Bahamas.
Despite this, Naylor said those species often avoid human contact.
The attack will be studied by research biologists to get a better understanding of what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.
Greg Skomal, a shark biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said he hopes to get a sense of what happened.
“What we would try to get as much information as possible that would try to give us a sense of why this happened,” he said.
This is the third fatal shark attack in the Bahamas since September 2022.
Just two weeks ago, a German woman went missing after encountering a shark while diving.
In September 2022, a 58-year-old American woman was killed by a shark while snorkeling with her family in New Providence.
“A couple of species have been implicated in attacks in the Bahamas the bull shark certainly the tiger,” said Skomal.
He reminded swimmers to keep an eye out for potential prey when in potentially shark-infested waters.
“These are things to be taken seriously and people needed to be educated about them,” he said.
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Naylor agreed: “I think people planning to go on vacation in the Caribbean should continue to do so. And should enjoy themselves, enjoy the water, but don’t be reckless.”
He advised people not to go swimming alone and to avoid swimming at night, dawn, or dusk when sharks are feeding.
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