A Manhattan private equity director known for her philanthropic efforts was mauled to death by a shark during a scuba diving excursion off the coast of Costa Rica in an attack so severe that first responders had no chance to save her.
The horrifying incident took place off the coast of the Isla del Coco island on Thursday, where 49-year-old Rohina Bhandari was part of a group of 18 scuba divers exploring Cocos Island National Park, the New York Daily News reported.
The dive master, who also suffered a shark bite in the attack but did not sustain life-threatening injuries, said that the attack occurred at the end of the dive as the group was already resurfacing. Boaters and other divers noticed the tiger shark before it attacked Bhandari and tried to drive it away, but they were unsuccessful.
In a statement, Costa Rica’s Environment Ministry said that Bhandari sustained injuries to her legs that were so severe that saving her life was impossible. Park guards and medical personnel who happened to be vacationing at the island tried desperately to treat her wounds.
“Upon reaching the surface, the attack on the tourist was already serious,” the agency said.
Tiger sharks are second only to great white sharks in the number of recorded attacks on humans. They tend to gravitate toward reefs, harbors, and other areas where humans typically swim, so the danger of shark bite incidents is higher than it otherwise would be.
Bhandari worked as a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LL, the investment firm founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and was also known as a regular on the Upper East Side charity circuit.