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Mother killed by shark in front of family on snorkelling trip

A cruise ship passenger has died after being mauled by a shark while snorkelling with her family.

The tourist, identified as Caroline DiPlacido from Pennsylvania in the US, was holidaying with a group on a Royal Caribbean cruise before they decided to go snorkelling in the Bahamas last week.

The 58-year-old was in the water at Green Cay, near Rose Island, when she was attacked by a bull shark, police chief Chrislyn Skippings told Eye Witness News Bahamas.

Caroline DiPlacido smiles in a blue dress.
Caroline DiPlacido has been remembered as a "ray of sunshine". Source: Facebook

“Family members observed a bull shark attacking the female. Family members along with operators of the boating company were able to rescue the female [and] brought her on board the tour company boat,” Supt Skippings said.

She suffered serious injuries to the left side of her body and her “upper extremities”, authorities said.

The Harmony of the Seas left Florida on Sunday, September 4, and arrived in the Bahamas two days later, where the family had booked a tour with a local company.

Local news footage showed men performing CPR on a boat, before a stretcher took the victim’s body away.

Ms DiPlacido’s family members could be seen crying and sitting in shock before they were escorted from the scene.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean said they are “providing support and assistance to the guest's loved ones during this difficult time”.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas docked in Florida.
The family was travelling on the Harmony of the Seas before the tragedy occurred in the Bahamas. Source: Getty/File (AFP via Getty Images)

Tributes flow for shark attack victim

Gannon University, where Ms DiPlacido worked, released a statement after her death, labelling the incident as “devastating”.

“…Caroline was a powerful presence of kindness and friendship to colleagues, students, and the wider community and cherished many family ties to Gannon. The news is devastating, and she will be missed," the statement read.

Friends of Ms DiPlacido took to Facebook after hearing the news.

“The world will not be the same without you,” one wrote. “You were truly a ray of sunshine to all who knew you. My heart is broken.”

“This is such a shock,” another said. “Caroline was my neighbour in Millcreek. This is heartbreaking and I pray for God to give her family and very large extended family the strength and love to get through this.”

The beach near where the woman was attacked was closed, with Supt Skippings saying she was unsure when or if it will reopen.

It’s the second shark attack death to occur in the area in the last three years.

In June 2019, a 21-year-old American tourist was snorkelling off Rose Island when she was attacked by a school of sharks.

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