In 98 years there have been 10 shark attacks in water bordering Costa Rica. Six of them were fatalities. The most recent victim was Rohina Bhandari of New York City. In December 2017.
When Bhandari and her guide were surfacing they were attacked by a tiger shark, one of the most aggressive species. The guide survived. They were diving off Cocos Island, a national park 300 miles offshore from Costa Rica’s mainland.
Most of the deaths involved swimming and an overloaded boat. On Sept. 12, 1919, the boat capsized and 13 men went overboard. Six men drowned, while six of the seven survivors died in a shark attack.
There are about 500 shark species but only three are responsible for unprovoked attacks on people — the great white, tiger and the bull. The tiger shark is found in tropical or temperate water and mainly hunts at night. The central Pacific islands are a location where tiger sharks stake out.
Sharks do not attack humans for food because our bodies do not have enough high-fat meat for their liking. After a quick attack they generally retreat because they are afraid of a counter attack. They wait for their victim to weaken and die before resuming their search for food. This pause gives the person who has been attacked a chance to get out of the water and, hopefully, survive. But like many animals, sharks are not always consistent in their actions. Bhandari was attacked on both legs. She bled to death.
Most sharks do not attack divers but divers are invading sharks’ home. Caution, especially in choosing dive sites, can reduce the chances of being attacked.