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July 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Killed by Sharks While Snorkeling with Pigs

from the July, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Jordan Lindsey, a 21-year-old college student from Torrance, CA, was fatally attacked by sharks while snorkeling with pigs in the Bahamas, as her mother watched in horror.

On June 25, Lindsey was with family and friends on an afternoon boat tour to snorkel with the swimming pigs of Rose Island, near Nassau. Snorkeling with the pigs took place in a roped-off section, with two guides aboard the boat, but apparently not in the water. According to ABC News, Lindsey's mother was in the water nearby and pulled her to shore following the attack. Her right arm was torn off, and her left arm, both legs, and buttocks were bitten. Lindsey was declared dead at Nassau's Doctor's Hospital.

Fellow snorkelers told the media they saw two small sharks still in the water when they were getting back on the boat, and a photo taken by a woman in the water earlier apparently shows one tiger shark.

Erich Ritter, a scientist with the Shark Research Institute who is investigating the incident, told the Associated Press that the sharks' behavior was not normal. They may have been triggered by something, like chum being dumped nearby. He also said the snorkeling company should have monitored the area better, and the guides should have been in the water, not on the boat, during the expedition.

Undercurrent's John Bantin, who wrote the book Shark Bytes, says, "If these domestic pigs of Rose Island defecate in the water, the sharks might have been feeding on that, which would have also clouded the water. Sharks nictitate their eyes, meaning they blink rapidly to protect their eyes when they go to bite, so they effectively do it with their eyes closed."

Bantin, who has been grabbed and carried off by tiger sharks a couple of times, thinks this incident sounds something more akin to what bull sharks do. "Tigers are quite ponderous. On the other hand, Oceanic white-tips are more likely to make an investigative bite in clear water, because they roam the oceans constantly searching for food and will try anything. Rose Island is on the oceanic side of the Bahamas archipelago. It's also 45 miles by boat from South Ocean, where the shark feeding goes on."

The attack is officially the first shark-related fatality in the Bahamas for over 10 years. The last confirmed one happened in February 2008, when Austrian diver Markus Groh died a day after a bull shark bit his leg during an organized shark dive from the M/V Shear Water. In July 2014, John Petty of Longview, TX, disappeared while diving in another Shear Water shark expedition at Tiger Beach, Grand Bahama. His camera and shredded dive gear were recovered from the water, but his body was never found.

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