The Isla del Coco National Park is located more than 340 miles off the coast of Costa Rica. (Alonso Tenorio / GDA via AP Images)
An American tourist was fatally mauled by a tiger shark while diving on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, local authorities said on Friday.
The woman, identified by her friends, 49-year-old Rohina Bhandari, director of a private equity firm in New York City, died after a morning attack on Cocos Island National Park on Thursday. miles of the Costa Rican coast. The Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica identified it in a press release only by its surname.
Bhandari was rising to the surface at the Manuelita dive site when his 26-year-old dive guide noticed the shark, which he described as a female tiger shark. The guide, identified only by his surname Jiménez, tried to scare the shark, but it was too late. The shark killed Bhandari, leaving severe bites on both legs, the ministry said in the press release.
A surface navigator helped repel the shark when it attacked the Bhandari diving instructor. The guide suffered a shark bite on one of his legs, but he survived. A team of doctors on the scene treated Jimenez and confirmed the death of Bhandari, the ministry said.
Bhandari, senior director of the Manhattan firm WL Ross & Co. LLC, was part of a group of 18 tourists visiting the island on a trip led by Undersea Hunter Group, a tour company that organizes trips to the National Park Isla del Coco, according to the Costa Rican newspaper La Nación.
Alan Steenstrup, the company's sales manager, told the newspaper they are "in shock" about what happened and are communicating with the family and Bhandari authorities.
According to the officers of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area, the attack was isolated. In 2012, researchers who visited the island labeled five tiger sharks, two males and three females. The females were the longest, measuring more than 13 feet. Sharks are most active at dive sites in the afternoon and early morning hours, but had not presented a threat until Thursday, the ministry said.
The Isla del Coco National Park, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997, is the only island in the tropical eastern Pacific with a tropical jungle. The remote island is world famous for its diving, during which tourists can observe rays, tuna, dolphins and about 14 species of sharks, including the whale shark and the hammerhead shark, the ministry said.
Tiger sharks were not in the area for approximately 30 years and returned about a decade ago, La Nación reported.
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."  He earned a Master of Science in Finance from George Washington University and had worked at the investment firm WL Ross & Co. LL since 2013, according to his LinkedIn page.
According to Bangalore Mirror, Bhandari's family comes from Bangalore, India. His brother, a good doctor, refused to comment on the Bangalore mirror, saying only that the family was in mourning. Bhandari's friends in Bangalore told the newspaper that he had planned to visit the city to celebrate his 50th birthday with friends later this month.
On Facebook and Twitter, Bhandari's friends posted notes lamenting his loss and expressing surprise at his death. 19659003] "Desperately sad to hear about the tragic and premature death of my dear friend," wrote Jon Benjamin in Twitter . "Always generous and gregarious, she was one of the pillars of my social life in New York a decade ago, she visited us in Chile and kindly lent us her apartment in New York in July of this year."
"Unique," he said. added on Facebook. "I feel your loss intensely … Sweet Rip Rohina."
"We lost a truly amazing woman in our business this weekend," our hearts are with Rohina Bhandari and her family.
Other friends described her as loyal, adventurous and "hard as nails" with her professional goals. "
" Rohina was an adventuress and I had many with her, "wrote a friend on Facebook." I'm sure the next one will be even better. It is a terrible loss for your friends of which there are many. Thinking about good times. A lovely girl "
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