Saturday, September 30, 2023


US Shark Attack Amputee Defends Bahamas Dive Company: ‘They Do Not Deserve This and It Really Pisses Me Off’

Seventy-three-year-old Heidi Ernst, an American scuba diver whose leg was amputated when she was bitten by a shark in Grand Bahama last week, is defending the Grand Bahama Scuba Dive Center after it was hit with hate mails and negative reviews.

“They are not only the best dive shop but also saved my life,” she retorted.

Ernest said of the criticisms levelled against the scuba dive company since the attack, “They do not deserve this and it really pisses me off…It is uncalled for and so hurtful to people, my friends to be under attack.”

Ernst was climbing a ladder after finishing her dive when a shark grabbed her by the leg.

“I didn’t even see him approach me. He came from below, and it was just like a truck hit me. It was just like a scene out of a horror movie,” she told ABC7NY.

Ernst, an experienced scuba diver, then struck the shark to get it to open its jaw and praised her friend for his quick thinking in saving her life.

She was stabilized at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport and then taken by air ambulance to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, FL. The extent of the wound and the infection required Ernest’s left leg amputation.

“She [the doctor] reconnected the nerves to muscles which promotes a good outcome with less pain and things like neuromas. And then she closed it up. Post-surgery is very painful and they had difficulty controlling my pain for almost two days,” she said.

Friends are seeking to raise $30,000 to assist with her medical expenses not covered by insurance, travel expenses to get her back home, travel expenses to get her to and from therapy appointments when she has returned home and other modifications needed in her home for physical assistance.

Ernst’s horror details circulated the international media and may have spurred criticisms at the dive company. “It was harmless consent on my part and now friends are being attacked. Please if you hear anyone badmouthing them, stop it in its tracks.”

Ernst said she will continue diving and has been looking for fins suited for amputees.

Tour Company ‘Shocked’ Over Tragic Death of US Tourist in Shark Attack

The tour company that took Caroline DePlacido on an independent excursion when she was killed by a shark, has been identified as Seas the Day Bahamas Tours.

In a post on social media, the boating tour company expressed shock at her unfortunate death.

“All of us at Seas the Day are deeply saddened and shocked by the shark attack at Green Cay…” the company said.

DePlacido, a faculty member at Gannon University in Pennysylvania, booked the company on Tuesday afternoon after she and her family disembarked from the Royal Caribbean Cruise Harmony of the Seas for a snorkeling excursion.

Seas the Day Bahamas Tours then took the family of 5 to 7 members to Green Cay which is half a mile off the popular tourist site, Rose Island. During the course of snorkeling, a bull shark attacked the 58-year-old mother as her children looked on.

She was eventually rescued by her family and the tour operators, who took her to Montague Ramp. All attempts to resuscitate her were futile and she died.

Seas the Day Bahamas describes itself as a boat tour agency that operates excursions “from Nassau to Exuma, Eleuthera, Rose Island and the Underwater Statues of Nassau.”

Reviews on its social media page were favorable. Cindy Krapcho did an excursion on Rose Island, and said her last trip with Captain Welly and Maddy was “fabulous.” She described the crew as “super friendly, knowledgeable and professional.”

Holly Elrod also recommended the tour agency as she reminisced on her last stop on Rose Island which was “the most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen.”

“The turquoise waters were just unbelievable to see,” she said.”

Seas the Day Bahamas has since requested prayers for the family of DiPlacido.

Police confirmed that she suffered an injury to her upper body.

After the incident, her visibly distraught children were seen being comforted as they come to grips with the unimaginable death.

The Royal Bahamas Defense Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force visited the site of the attack on Wednesday and have since closed off the area.

‘A Powerful Presence of Kindness’: Shark Attack Victim Identified as Caroline DiPlacido, 58

The Pennsylvania woman killed in the Bahamas by a bull shark is Caroline DiPlacido, a faculty member of Gannon University, a private Catholic university in Erie.

DiPlacido, 58, was a project coordinator in government relations at the university where she was described as “a powerful presence of kindness and friendship to colleagues, students, and the wider community.”

Caroline DiPlacido (green dress) is seen with family in 2021

She graduated from Gannon in 1986 and was hired in 2009 as a secretary in marketing and communication, and was responsible for enhancing the university’s relationship with the community.

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DiPlacido was vacationing with her family in the Bahamas onboard the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas Cruise when they booked an independent excursion off Rose Island, a popular snorkeling site for tourists.

While snorkeling, a bull shark attacked and she was bitten in the upper extremities of the body. She was rushed ashore by her family and the tour operator, but later died of her injuries.

PHOTO: A 58-year-old Pennsylvania woman was killed during a bull shark attack off Rose Island in The Bahamas.
In this screen grab from a video, authorities arrive at the location where a 58-year-old Pennsylvania woman was killed during a bull shark attack off Rose Island in The Bahamas. Obtained by ABC News

Campus Chaplain Rev Michael Kesicki said, “The news is devastating and she will be missed.

“Let us remember Caroline with affection and love. We pray for Caroline as she crosses over to eternity.”

She is survived by her husband David, children–Robert and Allison, and her mother Olivia.

The Erie campus held a prayer vigil on Wednesday afternoon in her honor.

Bull Shark Kills American Woman Off Montague Beach

An American woman was killed on Tuesday afternoon in a shark attack on Green Cay, off Montague Beach.

The authorities have not identified the woman believed to be in her 50s, but they confirmed that she was attacked as her children looked on.

The Pennsylvania woman arrived in the Bahamas onboard Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas cruise and took a day tour with a local tour company that dropped the family of 5 to 7 individuals on Green Cay, half a mile off Rose Island. While snorkeling, the woman was attacked by a bull shark.

Her children and the tour operator rushed to her aid, bringing her onboard the boat and onto a ramp on the mainland. The woman showed no signs of life and was pronounced dead on the scene.

She is reported to have been bitten on her upper body.

When reporters arrived, her adult children were still on the scene as her body was transported to the morgue.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Royal Caribbean said the woman was a guest on a seven-night cruise that sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida on Sunday and the group of individuals took part in an “independent shore excursion” in the capital.

“Royal Caribbean is providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time,” the statement said.

Bahamas Shark Attack on British Boy: ‘It Was Like a Scene Out of Jaws’

An eight-year-old British boy was reportedly bitten by sharks while on vacation in the Bahamas, last week.

According to British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, the boy Finley Downer was attacked by three nurse sharks at Compass Cay, Exuma when his sister pulled him to safety.

His father, Michael Downer said, “My son could have been killed. It was like a scene out of Jaws.”

During the tour, Finley and his other children, wandered near a lagoon, when he heard screams, “There was so much blood. Bits of his leg were hanging off,” Michael said.

The child was reportedly taken to a nearby clinic on a golf cart and later transported to Nassau for a three-hour operation on his legs.

Michael says he is angry that they were never warned that the sharks were dangerous. However, tour operator Exuma Escapes said the family wandered over to a lagoon not used on its tour.


Photo credit: The Sun