Boston Woman Dies After Shark Attacks Her While Paddleboarding

A Massachusetts woman, recently married, tragically lost her life in a shark attack while paddleboarding during her vacation in the Bahamas. The victim, identified as 44-year-old Lauren Erickson Van Wart, was a respected math specialist from Lowell. The incident occurred on Monday, leading to fatal injuries, as confirmed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Van Wart was enjoying her vacation with her husband at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort on New Providence island. The couple was paddleboarding less than a mile from the shore when a shark pulled her underwater. A lifeguard who witnessed the horrifying incident managed to rescue the couple and bring them back to the shore.

Despite immediate medical attention and CPR, Van Wart succumbed to her injuries. The police reported that she had sustained severe injuries to her right side, including her hip and upper limb. Her husband, however, was unharmed in the attack.

The news of the tragic incident left their neighbors in shock. One neighbor expressed their sorrow, noting the couple must have been looking forward to the vacation for months. The incident was described as “heartbreaking” and “shocking.”

Van Wart was employed as a math specialist at Curriculum Associates, a Billerica-based company that offers resources for teachers. The CEO, Rob Waldron, expressed his grief over the loss of a trusted colleague and friend. He praised Van Wart’s dedication to students and educators, and her commitment to improving learning outcomes.

The Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, where the couple was staying, confirmed that Van Wart was their guest. The type of shark responsible for the attack remains unknown. The Bahamas is home to around 40 different species of sharks, including bull sharks, tiger sharks, and black tip sharks, known for their aggressive behavior.

This incident marks the second fatal shark attack in the Bahamas in less than two weeks. Authorities are still searching for a 47-year-old German woman who disappeared last month, suspected to have been attacked while diving. Last year, a shark attack claimed the life of a 58-year-old US cruise ship passenger from Pennsylvania who was snorkeling near Green Cay.