Snorkeling companies say safety is their utmost concern.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – After a female American tourist was attacked and killed by several sharks while snorkeling in waters near Rose Island on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources issued a statement yesterday, advising the public to exercise extreme caution in certain areas.
The statement said persons must be cautious in an around the waters of New Providence and its adjacent islands and cays, especially the northern shoreline of New Providence, the northeastern shoreline of Paradise Island, Rose Island and along the Montagu Foreshore.
“The public is further advised to avoid the cleaning or discarding of fish waste in the water as this practice attracts sharks into areas often utilized for swimming by the public and our guests,” the Ministry said.
“Further, if a shark is seen in the swimming area, persons are advised to leave the water and in no circumstance molest or play with the animal.
“Also, if injured and bleeding while in the water, it is recommended that you leave the water as sharks are attracted to blood.
“The public is encouraged to report all sightings to the Public Authority.”
Eyewitness News Online understands that the female killed has been identified by relatives as 21-year-old Jordan Lindsey of Torrance, California.
Jordan was swimming in waters near Rose Island when she was attacked by multiple sharks, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Jordan’s right arm was torn off and she suffered bites to her left arm, both legs and buttocks, police said.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism expressed condolences and its deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of Lindsey, a communications studies major at Loyola Marymount University.
A letter issued yesterday to students at the university outlined that Lindsey was a devoted animal lover as well as a climate change advocate.
ABC news reported that Jordan was visiting the Bahamas with her father, Michael Lindsey, his wife, her two brothers and her girlfriend.
Michael Lindsey told ABC news that his two sons and Jordan’s girlfriend were on another part of Rose Island swimming while his wife and Jordan went snorkeling on another part of island.
“My wife was near Jordan, a few feet away, when the shark attacked. She said it happened so fast, and no one yelled anything. My wife got to Jordan and pulled Jordan to shore by herself. The medical staff said they still had to do an autopsy. My wife said no one told her there were three sharks,” Lindsey told ABC news.
Meanwhile, Eyewitness News Online spoke to several snorkeling businesses on Thursday, many of them expressing regret about Wednesday’s tragedy.
The managers of these businesses noted, however, that they were beefing up their efforts to remain vigilant when on diving expeditions.
Hartman Rolle, the manager at Stuart Cove’s, one of the largest diving businesses in the capital, said their company offers shark dives, but only with certified divers.
According to Rolle, Stuart Cove’s has experienced guides who are responsible for taking their clients on tours, ensuring that they are safe by keeping an eye out for any danger that could be posed by aquatic life.
“Our program has always been safety first, so in the event of seeing a potential type of situation that involves aquatic life we would normally abort the tour if need be. This does not happen often, but this is the protocol that we follow.”
The Stuart Cove’s manager said the dive company also keeps a close eye on other boaters who are fishing or spearfishing before embarking on a dive as this also could attract sharks and other predators.
“We are surrounded by water and the summer is here, so a lot of persons are out fishing but we just do our due diligence as best as we can to look out for stuff like that,” Rolle said.
“These things [attacks] are not just here [in the Bahamas] and the reality of it is that persons must just be vigilant during their activity [in the water].
“Whatever the activity is, you must be aware, because you are entering a different world whenever you get into the water as we are subjected to whatever goes on in the ocean, so we encourage our guests not to touch [the sharks] and just have memories.”
Rolle highlighted that Bahamians must also take the initiative to keep the waters of the Bahamas clean by not dumping trash in the ocean as this also attracts sharks.
Meanwhile Rolle expressed yesterday that business at Stuart Cove’s remained the same despite Wednesday’s tragic attack.
“We were still pretty much busy and we still had persons coming out. Our customers have not really been inquiring about the situation, which is good, but then at the same time we have been very vigilant with our water tours,” Rolle said.
Bahama Divers also offers a shark dive.
Alex Stubbs, the company’s reservations manager said while Wednesday’s incident was unfortunate, it did not affect business.
“Business is still good. We had a pretty decent snorkel trip this morning and we have a pretty decent dive trip this afternoon,” Stubbs said.
Asked if tourists were concerned about getting into water, Stubbs said, “Nobody really said anything. I don’t know if they had talks on the boat, but nothing was said upon check-in. I had a local came in to ask me about it, but not the tourists.”