A tiger shark fatally attacked a 49-year-old Wall Street executive and injured the guide who attempted to scare off the shark as they surfaced from a dive in Cocos Island National Park, 340 miles off the Costa Rican coast.
Rohina Bhandari, a senior director at the Manhattan private equity firm WL Ross & Co., was among a group of 18 tourists visiting the island on a chartered trip with Undersea Hunter Group, the Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion reported, according to the Washington Post.
The attack occurred at a dive site known as Manuelita in the early morning hours of last Thursday, according to the Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment and Energy.
The 26-year-old guide, identified only as Jiménez, noticed a female tiger shark as he and Bhandari were surfacing. He attempted to scare off the shark but was unsuccessful as it savagely attacked Bhandari's legs, leaving severe bites on both.
The tiger shark then attacked the 26-year-old guide, who was badly injured as he was bitten on the leg, the Bangalore Mirror reported.
The Post reported that a boater at the surface helped repel the shark as it attacked the guide. Doctors diving in the area responded to help, attending to Jiménez's non-life-threatening injuries and declaring that Bhandari was dead.
According to the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Manuelita in Coco National Park is a diving site famous for the possibility of seeing 14 species of sharks, highlighted by whale sharks and hammerhead sharks. The ministry called the attack "an isolated incident since this is the first occurrence of this magnitude in the Coco Island National Park."
Alan Steenstrup, a sales manager at WL Ross & Co., told La Nacion that those at the company were "in shock" over the incident.
Desperately sad to hear of the tragic, untimely passing of my dear friend Rohina Bhandari. Always generous & gregarious, she was a mainstay of my social life in NYC a decade ago, visited us in Chile and so kindly lent us her apartment in NYC in July this year. RIP sweet Rohina. pic.twitter.com/nAyV8B8lum
-- Jon Benjamin (@JonBenjamin19) December 3, 2017
Bhandari lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and was described by the New York Daily News as "a regular presence on the Manhattan charity circuit."
She earned a Master of Science in Finance from George Washington University and had been working at the investment firm WL Ross & Co. since 2013, according to her LinkedIn page.
According to the Bangalore Mirror, Bhandari's family originates from Bangalore, India. Her brother, a well physician, declined to comment to the Bangalore Mirror, saying only that the family was grieving. Bhandari's friends in Bangalore told the newspaper she had been planning on visiting the city to celebrate her 50th birthday with friends later this month.
"Desperately sad to hear of the tragic, untimely passing of my dear friend Rhona Bhandari," Jon Benjamin tweeted. "Always generous and gregarious, she was a mainstay of my social life in NYC a decade ago, visited us in Chile and so kindly lent us her apartment in NYC in July this year. RIP sweet Rohina."
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