NewsBritish tourist severely injured in rare shark attack off Tobago coast

British tourist severely injured in rare shark attack off Tobago coast

Tourist attacked by a shark just 10 m from the shore. The 64-year-old is in critical condition.
Tourist attacked by a shark just 10 m from the shore. The 64-year-old is in critical condition.
Images source: © Pexels | Mile Ribeiro

12:07 PM EDT, April 27, 2024

A British tourist was hospitalized with severe injuries following a shark attack on the Caribbean island of Tobago. The incident occurred approximately 33 feet from the shore. In response, authorities closed seven beaches and a marine park along the island's north-western coast. The shark managed to escape before it could be captured.

The attack took place on the morning of Friday, April 26, in Tobago, near the Starfish Hotel in Courland Bay. Peter Smith, a 64-year-old British national from Berkhamsted, sustained serious injuries to his arm, thigh, and abdomen. Tobago authorities reported that the shark was about 9.8 feet long.

Smith was vacationing on the island with his wife and friends on what turned out to be their last and unfortunate day. Just before their departure, Smith decided to take one last swim and was subsequently attacked by a shark.

The man was in water up to his waist and did not notice the shark approaching him from behind. Identified as a bull shark or Zambezi shark, the attack happened close to the shore, about 33 feet away.

According to witness statements reported by "The Sun," beachgoers attempted to frighten the shark away, and it eventually swam off.

Smith was immediately taken to the hospital. During a press conference, Tobago's Parliamentary Secretary Farley Augustine stated that their health service workers are now focused on stabilizing the tourist's condition to save his life and limbs.

Reward Offered for the Shark’s Capture Withdrawn

Following the attack, authorities closed seven beaches and all coastal areas between Plymouth town on the north coast of the island and Store Bay. The Tobago Emergency Management Agency has been using drones to survey the coastline of these areas.

A $10,000 reward was initially offered for the capture of the shark. However, the reward was later withdrawn after criticism from ichthyologists and animal rights activists.

According to the International Shark Attack File based in Florida, there were 69 unprovoked and 22 provoked shark attacks worldwide last year, resulting in 14 fatalities. However, most shark attacks in the region occur further north, in the central Caribbean and off the eastern and southern coasts of the USA. Over the past 20 years, Tobago has seen only two shark attacks, none of which were closer than 186 miles to the island.

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