The sharks bit Lindsey on the arms, legs and buttocks and detached her right arm, KABC-TV reported. Her family members yelled to warn her about the sharks, KABC said, but she did not hear them in time.
“We can confirm a U.S. citizen in the Bahamas succumbed to her injuries following a shark attack on June 26,” a State Department spokeswoman told The Washington Post in a statement. “Out of respect for her family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”
Lindsey was a communication studies major at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the university’s president, Timothy Law Snyder, said in a statement. She was a “devoted animal lover and climate change advocate” who had transferred from Santa Monica College, Snyder said. Lindsey participated in Loyola Marymount’s entrepreneurship society and worked at its Center for Urban Resilience, among other activities.
Lindsey’s family has set up a GoFundMe page seeking donations to return her body to California and for funeral expenses. As of Thursday afternoon, it had raised over $23,000 of the $25,000 goal.
Sharks attack humans rarely and kill them even less frequently. People worldwide reported 130 interactions with sharks in 2018, University of Florida researchers found. Five of those attacks were fatal.
Multiple sharks attack people less often than single sharks, said Holly Bourbon, director of dive programs at the National Aquarium. Sharks have a keen sense of smell, she said, and may join an attack if they smell blood in the water.
Bourbon urged people not to swim alone, or at dawn or dusk. Swimmers and divers also should avoid fishing areas and drop-offs where sharks tend to hunt, Bourbon said.
If a shark does attack, she said, the person should hit the shark’s snout on sensory, gel-filled pores that often look like small, black dots. The victim also should try to claw out the shark’s eyes and fight back with any supplies they have, Bourbon said.
A North Carolina teenager recently lost several fingers and part of her left leg in a shark attack off the state’s coast. Paige Winter, 17, was pulled underwater while she was swimming with her siblings. Her father jumped into the ocean and fought the shark, saving her life.