SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico)- A 27- year old American woman was bitten by a shark while she was swimming in a popular bioluminescent bay at night in Puerto Rico.
The shark estimated at 6 feet (1.8 meters) caused a wound about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and runs from below her knee to the ankle. The woman, identified as 27-year-old Lydia Strunk from the US state of Idaho, faces several months of physical therapy and will remain hospitalized until the weekend.
Strunk was one of 16 people kayaking late Tuesday in the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay in Vieques, a tiny island just east of Puerto Rico. She jumped into the water with four other people when something hit the leg of the person next to her. Seconds later, Strunk was bitten, doctors said.The shark was likely curious, according to the biologist who analyzed the bite.
The bay attracts hundreds of visitors mesmerized by its glowing waters that are activated when microscopic organisms are disturbed. But its murky waters also serve as a nursery for several species, including tiger, nurse, reef and hammerhead sharks. People are prohibited from swimming in the bioluminescent waters of Mosquito Bay to protect the ecosystem, and the company could face a penalty of up to $5,000 or even lose its license
The shark bite was confirmed by a marine biologist, but he could not identify the type of shark because no teeth were recovered. Strunk is expected to make a full recovery but will likely have some nerve damage and limited movement in her right foot, he said. Doctors repaired four tendons that are used for flexing the foot, and it will take up to five months for Strunk’s damaged nerves to grow back, he said.
Strunk has declined to speak to the news media and does not want photos of her injury released, doctors said. Her parents are expected to arrive in the U.S. Caribbean territory Thursday afternoon, doctors said.
Shark attacks are rare in Puerto Rico. Only seven attacks have ever been reported, two of them fatal, with the last death occurring in 1924, according to museum statistics