Photo: Wijnand Plekker/Shutterstock

A Tourist in French Polynesia Lost Both Hands in a Rare Shark Attack

Wildlife News
by Eben Diskin Oct 23, 2019

While on a whale-watching expedition off the coast of Moorea in French Polynesia, a tourist was attacked by a shark and lost both of her hands. The 35-year-old French citizen was swimming when an oceanic whitetip shark bit into her arms and chest. She was quickly treated by nurses on the scene — who happened to also be on the excursion — but the damage had already been done.

Local firefighter Jean-Jacques Riveta told AFP, “When we got to the hotel jetty she was conscious but in a critical condition. She had lost a lot of blood and both her hands had been cut off at the forearm.”

Although the woman is now in stable condition after being airlifted to Tahiti, she did lose both hands in the attack.

Jacques Cousteau, the famous conservationist and oceanographic researcher, called the oceanic whitetip shark the most dangerous of all sharks, though attacks near land are extremely uncommon as they prefer deep ocean areas.

Attacks may be extremely rare, but according to the International Shark Attack File — a database on shark attacks — the number of attacks should be expected to increase. “As world population continues its upsurge and interest in aquatic recreation concurrently rises,” it said, “we realistically should expect increases in the number of shark attacks and other aquatic recreation-related injuries.”

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