Stuart Cove’s investigates after shark bites boy

Stuart Cove’s operated a Blue Adventures concession at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island (Craig Stanfill)
The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island (Craig Stanfill)

Well-known Bahamas shark-diving operator Stuart Cove’s has launched an internal investigation and stated that it is co-operating with police after a 10-year-old boy was bitten by a shark during a resort “shark tank” experience.

The unnamed boy was bitten on his right leg at around 4pm on 15 January, and treated in hospital before being airlifted to his home state of Maryland, USA. Police said that he was in a serious but stable condition. 

Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas has catered for scuba divers from its New Providence island centre since 1978, but what the police described as the shark tank experience in which the boy was taking part was run through the company’s separate Blue Adventures arm, a watersports concession at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island just off New Providence.

The boy, who was understood to have been staying at the 3,800-room resort, had been signed up for a 20-minute underwater experience called “Walking With The Sharks” in a facility thought to contain Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks. 

No swimming experience is required as guests aged from 10 walk on the bottom of the Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon at the resort’s extensive Aquaventure site, breathing through either self-contained or surface-supplied SeaTrek-type helmets.

Dark turn

Guest Tori Massie, who was already in the tank, told NBC that when the boy joined the group the experience “just kind of took a dark turn. We saw the sharks home in on him and then just like a pool of blood afterwards“.

A dive instructor and a dive-guide on duty in the tank were able to provide immediate medical attention. The facility was closed to guests following the incident and appeared to have been removed from the Atlantis website.

“Incidents like this involving interactions with marine life, even with the species of sharks included in this experience, are rare and never acceptable,” commented Stuart Cove, adding that the incident was the first of its kind since the shark tank experience began operating in 2006.

In August 2022 a British eight-year-old boy, Finley Downer, was bitten on both legs by nurse sharks while swimming in a lagoon at Compass Cay in the Bahamas. The tour operator said that his family had entered a body of water not specified for its tour, unaccompanied by a guide.

Also on Divernet: Dive-guide who punched nurse shark gets the boot, The Bahamas' big shark trifecta, Exploring the best of the Bahamas, Snorkeller fatally bitten by shark named

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