Boston Woman Fatally Attacked by Shark In Bahamas

( – A Boston woman was killed in a violent shark attack while vacationing in the Bahamas. The woman, Lauren Erickson Van Wart, 44, and a male relative she was vacationing with were paddle boarding about three-quarters of a mile from the shore line when the shark came from under her and delivered the would-be fatal bite.

A nearby lifeguard saw the disturbance in the water, rushed out to the scene, and was able to get the woman to shore. Medical personnel were called and administered CPR but the bite to the right side of her body, hip, and upper leg were too much for her to overcome. This was the first fatal shark attack of an American in the Bahamas since a 58-year-old woman was killed by a bull shark while taking part in an off-ship cruise activity. The attack on Van Wart was the latest in a recent string in the Bahamas; these attacks had been rare in the area but have increased in recent months.

One month ago, a 47-year-old tourist from Germany was diving off the West End in Grand Bahamas when she went missing after a shark encounter. In June, another woman diving in the Bahamas had to have her leg amputated after a violent shark encounter.

The Van Wart, attack follows another that took place in Mexico just one day prior. A 26-year-old woman was swimming with her young daughter when the shark attack happened. Like Van Wart the woman died soon after being bitten.

The United States has seen an uptick in shark encounters and bites in recent years as well. Florida reported more encounters in 2023 than they have had in several years. For the year 2022 a group called International Shark File reports there were 108 shark attacks globally with the United States having the most at 41. There have been over 50 different shark species identified along the eastern coast of the United States.

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