Boston woman Lauren Erickson Van Wart, 44, identified as newlywed mauled to death by shark ‘in front of her HUSBAND’ while paddle-boarding in five-star Sandals Bahamas resort the day after her wedding
The Boston newlyweds killed by a shark while paddle boarding with her new husband a day after their dreamy wedding in the Bahamas have been identified.
Lauren Erickson Van Wart, 44, was paddle boarding off the coast of the five-star Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort with her new husband Monday morning when she was fatally mauled by the predator.
A lifeguard saw the woman in distress and rushed to help. They attempted CPR, but the attack severely injured the woman's right hip and upper limb, and attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
People enjoying the nearby beach are said to have heard screams as the horror unfolded, holidaymaker Debra DeWeese told DailyMail.com.
Grim photos and videos shared afterwards showed the victim's covered body being carried back to the beach on a stretcher before being loaded into an ambulance.
A 44-year-old Boston newlywed's paddleboard is pictured floating in the Bahamas on Monday, shortly after she was fatally mauled by a shark the day after her wedding
Mortuary services staff transport the body of a female tourist after what police described as a fatal shark attack in the waters near the Sandals Royal resort in Bahamas
The body of the newlyweds is loaded into a van by local police after Monday's tragedy
Sergeant Desiree Ferguson of the Royal Bahamian Police told reporters: 'Shortly after 11.15am, police were notified that a female visitor from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, had been attacked by a shark.
“According to our initial reports, the female was paddle boarding with a male family member just off the back of a resort in Western New Providence, about 3/4 mile off the coastline, when she was bitten by the shark.
'An on-duty lifeguard who saw what happened went out in a rescue boat, picked up the victim along with the male relative and took them to safety. The victim was resuscitated.
'However, she suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body, including the right hip and also her right thigh.
“Emergency medical services responded to this scene. They thoroughly examined the victim and stated that she showed no vital signs of life.”
She added that it took a few hours to pull the woman inside before they got a wheelchair out to pick up the man believed to be her husband.
“I can't imagine what the man is going through,” DeWeese — who had a day pass from a cruise — added in a Facebook post.
Emergency services converged on a pier at the Sandals resort on Monday following a fatal shark mauling
Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort is a five-star complex, where rooms cost around $1,500 per night in high season
DeWeese noted that “the staff and some of the guests are a little traumatized.”
It was not immediately clear what type of shark attacked the woman, although tiger sharks and bull sharks are known to live off the coast of the Bahamas.
Gavin Naylor, program director of the International Shark Attack File in Florida, said in an interview that several shark-related fatalities have been reported in the Bahamas over the past five years.
He noted that the Bahamas has a “huge” tourist population, adding that there are a lot of people in the water and many visitors who want to watch sharks from a fishing boat or dive with them.
“So the sharks become habituated and the animals are a little less careful than they otherwise would be,” he said.
The victim, who was not identified, was attacked less than a mile from the western end of New Providence Island, where the capital Nassau is located.
She was paddleboarding with a man – believed to be her husband – who, according to police Sgt. Desiree Ferguson
Between 30 and 40 shark species live around the Bahamas, although the Caribbean reef shark, bull shark, tiger shark and blacktip shark have the highest bite frequency, Naylor said.
“Most of the time it's an accidental bite. They think it's something else,” he said. “Occasionally they will single people out, and that's very intentional.”
Fatal shark attacks are rare, with only five to six reported per year on average worldwide, with most occurring in Australia, Naylor said.
Last year there were a total of them 57 unprovoked bites around the worldthe majority of which are in the US, according to the International Shark Attack File.
Debra DeWeese, a woman who visited the resort and posted photos of the scene afterward, told DailyMail.com that her fellow vacationers could hear the woman's screams all the way from land
Police said a lifeguard rescued both people with a boat when they saw what happened, but the woman suffered serious injuries to the right side of her body and was pronounced dead at the scene despite resuscitation efforts.
At least 33 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks have been reported in the Bahamas since 1580, with the island ranking ninth worldwide, according to the dossier.
The Nassau Guardian newspaper reported that authorities in the Bahamas are still searching for a German woman who went missing late last month after apparently being attacked while diving.
Last year a shark killed an American cruise ship passenger from Pennsylvania who was snorkeling in the northern Bahamas near Green Cay.
Most shark attacks in the Caribbean occur in the Bahamas, although a rare shark attack does occur was reported in the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin three years ago.