Woman killed by shark while snorkelling in Bahamas during Royal Caribbean cruise

The victim's family believe she was attacked by a bull shark (file photo). Credit: Pexels

An American cruise ship passenger has been killed by a shark while snorkelling with her family in the Bahamas.

The 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was on a daytime excursion at the popular tourist destination of Green Cay when she was attacked on Tuesday, authorities said.

Her family were on a seven-night cruise of the western Caribbean on the Harmony of the Seas, which left Port Canaveral in Florida on Sunday.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings said the woman's family identified the creature that attacked her as a bull shark.

People react after a fatal shark attack near Green Cay in the northern Bahamas. Credit: AP

The victim's name has not yet been released by authorities.

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean International said in a statement that the woman died after being taken to a local hospital, adding that the company is supporting her loved ones.

She was attacked just half a mile away from where a 21-year-old American woman was killed by a shark in 2019.

The tourist, from southern California, was attacked by three sharks near Rose Island after failing to hear her relatives' warning cries.

In December 2020, a fatal shark attack was reported in the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin, the first such incident in that region.

The majority of shark attacks in the Caribbean have occurred in the Bahamas. Credit: AP

Fatal shark attacks are rare, worldwide.

In 2021, there were a total of 73 unprovoked shark attacks on humans globally, according to the Florida-based International Shark Attack File.

A total 11 shark attack fatalities were recorded last year, nine of which were assigned as unprovoked.

This was above the annual global average of five unprovoked fatalities per year.

Overall, at least 32 shark attacks have been reported in the Bahamas since 1749.