The American tourist who was attacked by a shark in Turks and Caicos was celebrating her graduation from Yale when the predator ripped off her foot – which could not be reattached because it took an emergency flight six hours to arrive.
The 22-year-old from Connecticut, who has not been named, was vacationing after graduation with a friend when she was attacked by what is believed to be a reef shark about 3 p.m. Wednesday, a local source told the Daily Mail.
Gruesome images published by the outlet show her detached left foot still embedded in her flipper.
The pair were swimming off famous Grace Bay Beach during a private boat tour when the beast attacked her.
The boat captain, who is trained in first aid, dove into the water to save the woman — applying a tourniquet to her mangled leg before she was rushed to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, the Mail reported.
He then jumped back into the water and retrieved her foot, which was still in the flipper.
The detached limb was then placed in a bucket of ice to preserve it for reattachment.
However, the foot could not be saved because it took an emergency aircraft six hours to arrive and fly the woman to a hospital in Miami, according to the Mail.
An unidentified employee described her as an ‘impressive young woman” was had just run a marathon in the Netherlands last week.
“It was a super rare incident. I have been living here for 14 years and there has only been one other incident where there was a shark bite and nothing was ripped off,” he told the outlet. “It’s shocking what happened. I feel heartbroken for her.”
The victim and her friend were on a private boat during an excursion organized by local eco-adventures and water sports company, Big Blue Collective.
“The extremely rare and unfortunate incident that happened yesterday outside the reef, involving a snorkeler and a shark, occurred during a private trip,” a company spokesperson said.
“Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity,” the rep said.
“The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation,” the statement added.
Initial reports based on a statement from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police said the woman had been snorkeling in the waters near the Blue Haven Resort, but the agency later deleted its statement on Facebook.
The woman was listed in stable condition at a Miami hospital, where she was expected to be reunited with her family, according to the Mail.