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American tourist killed by tiger shark while diving off coast of Costa Rica

  • Rohina Bhandari, 49, suffered fatal bites to both of her legs while at the Manuelita dive site in Costa Rica's Isla del Coco National Park.
  • The 49-year-old was ascending to the surface, when her instructor noticed a female tiger shark nearby, according to the statement.
  • According to the statement, researchers tagged five tiger sharks, three females and two males, near the dive area in 2012.
Tiger Shark
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Tiger Shark

A Manhattan woman died after being mauled by a tiger shark while diving with a group of tourists off the coast of Costa Rica on Nov. 30, according to local officials.

Rohina Bhandari, 49, suffered fatal bites to both of her legs while at the Manuelita dive site in Costa Rica's Isla del Coco National Park, according to a statement released Friday by the country's Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC).

Bhandari, who was identified only by her last name in the government-issued statement, was later identified by friends and was a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LL. She was a staple of many charity events in New York City, according to the New York Daily News.

The 49-year-old was ascending to the surface, when her instructor noticed a female tiger shark nearby, according to the statement. According to the newspaper, La Nacion,the instructor, identified only as Jiménez, tried to scare the shark away, but was unsuccessful.

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The dive instructor was also bitten, but was conscious and suffered a serious wound in one of his extremities, according to the Ministry.

Bhandari was pulled from the water, and her death was later confirmed by several on-site doctors, according to La Nacion.

The Ministry said the attack was an isolated incident.

According to the statement, researchers tagged five tiger sharks, three females and two males, near the dive area in 2012.

According to La Nacion, tiger sharks were not found in the area for three decades, but returned to the protected area about 10 years ago.