MARIGOT (France), Dec 11 — A woman aged 39 has died of her injuries after she was attacked by a shark while bathing off the French portion of the Caribbean island of Saint-Martin, local officials said today.
The local authorities have banned bathing and watersports for the next 48 hours in the wake of the attack yesterday afternoon, the prefecture said in a statement.
The woman was spending a sabbatical year on the island, which is divided between a French side that is part of France and a Dutch side that is a country of the Netherlands.
She was swimming some 150 metres off the Baie Orientale, a heavily-touristed area facing the Atlantic, when she cried out, said Mikael Dore, the secretary general of the prefecture.
Two people, including a kite-surfing instructor, then set out in a boat in a bid to rescue her, he added.
The boat found the floating body of the unconscious woman, her leg torn off and losing a lot of blood, the local gendarmerie said.
She was given treatment but succumbed to her wounds, it added.
It was not immediately clear what kind of shark had caused the attack. But the washing-up of a tiger shark on Sunday on another beach on Saint-Martin had caused general concern.
Shark attacks are extremely rare off Saint-Martin, with the last such attack dating back to 1995. They are considered far more common off France’s Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. — AFP