UPDATE: Fatal Shark Attack in the Bahamas On Harmony of the Seas Cruise Ship Passenger Under Investigation
By Space Coast Daily // September 8, 2022
58-year-old female victim was a member of an independent snorkling excursion
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – A cruise ship passenger traveling on the Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas out of Port Canaveral was killed by a bull shark while snorkeling in the Bahamas on Tuesday.
The 58-year-old female victim, who was a member of an independent excursion when the incident occurred, died due to upper body injuries, according to authorities on the island of New Providence.
“The family was reportedly snorkeling in waters and that area is known for visitors to snorkel,” Royal Bahamas police chief Chrislyn Skippings said in a news conference. “It is further reported that family members observed a bull shark attacking the female.”
Since bull sharks often dwell in very shallow waters, they are found in many types of habitats, are territorial by nature, and have no tolerance for provocation, they may be more dangerous to humans than any other species of shark.
Bull sharks are one of the three shark species, along with the tiger shark and great white shark, most likely to bite humans.
Tour employees and family members rescued the woman and quickly returned to New Providence Island for emergency medical care, but the woman was pronounced dead.
Port Canaveral homeported Harmony of the Seas was on a seven-day cruise that departed on Sunday and was visiting Nassau on New Providence Island from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to the police statement, the woman was attacked when she was on a tour with four family members, snorkeling in the waters northwest of Rose Island. The family members unsuccessfully tried to rescue the woman, who suffered “serious injuries to the left side of her body,” according to the statement.
Authorities on the island of New Providence reported that shortly before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, police were alerted that a female visitor was attacked by a shark in the waters at Green Cay and was being transported to the Fort Montagu ramp via the Sea the Day tour boat.
“It is reported that a family of five from Lake Erie, Pennsylvania were on a tour, snorkeling in waters northwest of Rose Island, in The Bahamas when one of the family members, a 58- year old female was attacked,” said police in a statement.
“Tour operators along with family members attempted to rescue the female; however, they were unsuccessful, which resulted in the female receiving serious injuries to the left side of her body. EMS personnel visited the Fort Montagu Ramp where the victim was transported and confirmed no vital signs of life.”
Royal Caribbean International said in a statement to the AP that the woman died after arriving at a local hospital for treatment and that the company is helping their loved ones.
The area of the attack has now been closed to visitors indefinitely, and authorities have not said when or if the area may reopen.
Shark attacks have been noted in the same area previously, including a fatal incident in 2019 when a 21-year-old woman from California was killed. That incident did not involve cruise ship guests.
With a gross tonnage of 226,963, Harmony of the Seas is the third largest passenger ship in the world. In length, however, Harmony of the Seas is the longest cruise ship in the world at 1,188 feet long.