An American tourist was killed by a tiger shark while diving off a Costa Rican island in the Pacific Ocean earlier this week.

The 49-year-old woman was identified by friends as Rohina Bhandari, a private equity director from New York City.

Local news reports from Costa Rica cited a statement from the Ministry of Environment and Energy saying Bhandari was hauled out of the water after sustaining severe bites to her legs after she was attacked by the shark while scuba diving off of remote Isla del Coco Thursday.

She was with a group of friends when the shark attacked as the group surfaced following a dive. The trip to the island of the Pacific ocean was organized by a private company. The diving instructor was also reportedly seriously injured but was said to be in a stable condition. The woman had suffered severe lacerations on both of her legs.

The 26-year-old diving guide identified by his last name Jimenez said it was a female tiger shark that attacked and killed Bhandari. He also said he tried to scare off the animal after noticing it first approach them. A boater and other divers also made attempts to drive the creature away but it was too late. “ Upon reaching the surface, the attack on the tourist was already serious, ” the ministry said., according to Q Costa Rica News.

Authorities said two park rangers of the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (SINAC) and several doctors who were part of the diving tourism group of 18 people on the island trip by Undersea Hunter Group offered first aid. The group regularly organized tours to the national park, which is a Natural World Heritage Site reportedly known for its abundance of sharks. The environment ministry, meanwhile, stressed that attack was 'an isolated incident' and the first one of such seriousness recorded for the island.

Alan Steenstrup, the tour company’s sales manager, said they were “in shock” because of the incident and added they were now focusing on working with the victim’s family and the authorities.

According to New York Daily News, Bhandari was a resident of Manhattan's Upper East Side and a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LL, a firm founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. She was also frequently seen at charity events throughout the city.

It was reported that the boat carrying Bhandari’s body would arrive at the Puerto Caldera after traveling the 532 kilometers from the island on Friday night. It would then will be transferred to the Forensic Medicine Laboratory in Heredia before being repatriated. However, it is not known where the body had been taken as of Sunday morning.

Bhandari’s friends reacted with shock and sadness on her Facebook page upon learning the news of her death.

“Rohina you were the brightest of lights that went out much too soon,” one person wrote. “My life was richer for having known you.”



“Unbelievably sad and heartbreaking news that Rohina has died,” another said. “She was such a wonderful person who loved life. I will always remember her kindness, friendship, and our adventures together.”