The last thing this woman expected while on a whale-watching trip was to be bitten by a shark. Despite the fact that only 6 unprovoked shark attacks have been reported in French Polynesia since 1580 (that’s over 430 years!), this woman was the unlucky 7th attack.
According to all reports, this woman is incredibly lucky to be alive. The shark didn’t just go after her hands but ripped into her multiple times.
This 35-year-old tourist, whose identity has not been released yet, was swimming off the island of Mo’orea. A South Pacific island that is known for sandy beaches and volcanic mountains, this is a popular honeymoon spot and has some of the most breathtaking sights around.
She was apparently part of a whale watching trip and taking a dip in the deep-blue ocean water when a shark caught sight of her.
In a frenzy that lasted only moments, the shark bit off both of the tourist’s hands. The shark then circled back and took a chunk from her chest, causing the woman to lose an incredible amount of blood in a short amount of time.
Miraculously, she was both awake and alert during and after the attack. Two nurses were nearby and able to give her emergency attention until she could be properly treated.
The woman was flown to a hospital in Tahiti, where she is still undergoing treatment. Her hands are completely gone – there’s no hope there – but at the moment, it does appear that she will pull through.
If you get attacked by a shark, you’re likely to survive – while there are somewhere between 70 and 100 reported cases of shark attacks every year worldwide, only about 5 to 15 of them are fatal.
The US has the highest number of unprovoked attacks, coming in with over 1,400 since 1580. Australia takes second with a distant 642, and South Africa pulls into third with 255.
It’s suspected that shark attacks are actually more common than some people thing or report – many attacks may be happening in developing countries where they are simply not reported, or in countries that wish to not report for fear of bad publicity.
A shark can smell even trace amounts of blood in the water, which brings their senses to full awareness. But most sharks are actually not very interested in humans.
The most common shark attack is an instance of “hit-and-run”, where a shark will sneak up on a human and bite them. When they realize that it’s not their usual snack, they swim away uninterested.
Humans are not a shark’s natural food, and they don’t seem too interested in eating us. It doesn’t help the poor tourist, however, who now has to spend the rest of her life as a shark attack survivor… without hands.