"The employee indicated that the female victim had her leg bitten off by a shark," police said. This is a representational image. Alex Steyn/Unsplash.

According to officials, an American tourist who was snorkeling when she was attacked by a shark in Turks and Caicos is hospitalized in critical condition.

The 22-year-old unidentified lady was from Connecticut, according to a news statement from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force that was posted on social media on Wednesday night.

She and a friend were snorkeling close to the Blue Haven Resort on Providenciales, the third-largest island in the nation, according to supplementary police records, CBS News reported.

The woman was taken to Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, located on Providenciales, and her current condition is described as serious, according to the police.

"The employee indicated that the female victim had her leg bitten off by a shark," police said.

Shark attacks are infrequent occurrences, as indicated by the International

Shark Attack File from the University of Florida, which reported only 57 unprovoked shark bites worldwide last year. Among those incidents, five resulted in fatalities.

Experts suggest that the majority of shark attacks are instances of mistaken identity, where a shark confuses a human for a seal or another type of prey.

To ensure safety while in the water, wildlife specialists advise several precautions.

These include remaining near the shore and swimming with a companion, exercising caution when swimming in areas with sandbars or sudden depth changes, refraining from wearing shiny jewelry or clothing with high-contrast patterns that may attract sharks and avoiding swimming with open wounds or injuries.

It is also recommended to steer clear of fishing areas that might attract sharks and to avoid swimming in murky or cloudy waters, which can obscure the presence of an approaching shark.

In the event of spotting a shark, it is advisable to calmly and gradually make your way back to the shore.

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