COSTA RICA – Rohina Bhandari, 49, an Indian American private equity director from Manhattan, New York, was killed by a tiger shark Nov. 30 while diving off a Costa Rican island in the Pacific Ocean, the government and local media reported.
News of her death was reported by the New York Daily News Dec. 3.
The attack also badly injured the 26-year-old male Costa Rican diving guide leading the group that included Bhandari.
The shark savaged the two Nov. 30 as they were surfacing after a dive off Cocos Island, a pristine national park located 300 miles off the Costa Rican mainland, the environment ministry said in a statement.
Bhandari was said to have sustained fatal bite marks on both of her legs.
It stressed the attack was ‘an isolated incident’ and the first one of such seriousness recorded for the island.
According to the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion, the guide noticed the shark approaching his group underwater and tried to scare it away.
But as they surfaced, the shark went for the Indian American woman, tearing at her legs.
The guide, too, suffered leg injuries.
Park rangers came to assist, as did doctors who happened to be diving in the area and who declared the woman dead.
The injured guide was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition and conscious.
He told La Nacion he believed the shark was a female.
Bhandari, a resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, was a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LL, a firm founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
She was also frequently spotted at charity events throughout the city.
Her death was met with shock and sadness by her friends on Facebook.
Cocos Island, a Costa Rican island in the Pacific Ocean, is a pristine national park located 300 miles off the Costa Rican mainland.
Tiger sharks, which have dark stripes on their body when young, are predators often found around Pacific islands.
Unlike many other species of shark, they can be aggressive and account for a large proportion of reported attacks on humans.
“Unbelievably sad and heartbreaking news that Rohina has died,” wrote Julie Walker in her Facebook post.
“She was such a wonderful person who loved life. I will always remember her kindness, friendship and our adventures together.”
“Your kindness and genuine warmth to those of us lucky enough to call you ‘friend’ was a blessing to behold,” another friend wrote.