Diver Killed by Tiger Shark at Cocos Island

A tiger shark bit and killed a diver at Cocos Island on November 30, as well as injuring the instructor leading the dive.

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On Thursday, Nov. 30, a tiger shark at Cocos Island, Costa Rica bit and killed a diver and injured the instructor she was diving with while they were awaiting pickup from their liveaboard’s skiff. The diver was a guest onboard the Undersea Hunter’s Sea Hunter when the unprovoked attack occurred. According to an official report, a female guest named Rohina Bhandari, 49, was diving with an instructor at famed site Manuelita when a female tiger shark followed them from the safety stop to the surface. “Upon reaching the surface, the attack on the tourist was already serious,” the ministry said.



The shark bit Bhandari, causing severe lacerations on her legs. Although park guards and medical personnel vacationing in Cocos tried frantically to treat her wounds, she died shortly thereafter. The shark also bit the dive instructor on the leg, and both he and the skiff driver tried to fight it off at the surface. The instructor is in serious but stable condition.

Conservationists recorded five tiger sharks in the Isla del Coco National Park in 2012, but last week’s fatal attack is the first to ever happen in the area.As most divers know, underwater interactions with sharks are not only nearly always peaceful, but much looked forward to on a dive.

Bhandari was a private equity director in Manhattan and her death came as quite a shock to the community, and her friends have left a number of messages of condolence on her Facebook page.

We report on this incident not to stoke fears of shark interactions, but rather because it is so incredibly rare, and concerns the dive industry. We send our thoughts to all parties involved.