Woman Killed In Costa Rica Shark Attack Was New York Financier

Rohina Bhandari sustained severe bites to her legs in the attack off the coast of Costa Rica. Her body is now waiting to be repatriated to the U.S.


The woman who was fatally attacked by a tiger shark on Thursday in the Isla del Coco has been identified as Rohina Bhandari, 49. She was a Wall Street private equity manager, a senior director at WL Ross & Co. LL, a firm founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and who lived in the Upper East Side, who often attended New York City charity events.

Rohina Bhandari, New York Post photo.

“Unbelievably sad and heartbreaking news that Rohina has died,” posted Julie Walker, one of her Facebook friends. “She was such a wonderful person who loved life. I will always remember her kindness, friendship, and our adventures together.”


From Facebook

Christi Collins Weild wrote that “nobody lit up a room like” Bhandari. “Your kindness and genuine warmth to those of us lucky enough to call you ‘friend’ was a blessing to behold,” she added. “Rest peacefully, dear one. You will be so missed.”

“Rohina you were the brightest of lights that went out much too soon,” Ashley Gendron wrote on her Facebook page. “My life was richer for having known you.”

Bhandari was diving with a group when the group’s diving guide, a  26-year-old identified by his last name Jimenez, who was also injured in the attack, noticed the shark approaching underwater and tried to scare it off.

Rohina Bhandari was pulled from the water but could not be saved Credit: Getty

But as they surfaced, the shark swam directly at Bhandari and began biting her legs. Jimenez suffered serious injuries.

Two park rangers of the  Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (SINAC) and several doctors who part of the diving group, made a frantic effort to treat her wounds. The woman died shortly after, said the report by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE). Her body arrived Friday night by boat to the city of Puntarenas, some 532 kilometers away, in a trip that took almost 36 hours after leaving the Isla del Coco Thursday afternoon

Authorities reported agents of the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) – judicial police – received the body at 11:40 pm Friday, at the Calmar dock in Cocal de Puntarenas, and transferred by land to the Medical Forensic Laboratory in Heredia, at 1:30 am.

The body of the woman arrived at the dock in Puntarenas late Friday night, after an almost 36 hour trip by sea from the Isla del Coco. Photo: Andrés Garita

The body remains at the San Joaquín de Flores morgue and is waiting to be repatriated, the US embassy is working with the family in the process.

The guide was taken to hospital, where he was conscious and in stabe condition.

A tiger shark is pictured in this undated stock photo.

Tiger sharks, one of the largest sharks in the world, are predators and known for their powerful jaws and voracious appetites.

About Shark attacks

Every year an average of approximately 80 unprovoked shark attacks are reported worldwide. Of these, six are generally fatal. It is extremely rare to be the victim of such an attack – for example, it is approximately 33 times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by a shark.

Shark warning flag, La Reunion island Photo: Paul Grover

The species most likely to be involved in attacks on humans are the great white, tiger and bull shark.

The area with most reported attacks is the west coast of the USA. However, South Africa has a far higher fatality rate possibly because tourist activities have taught sharks to associate divers and food.

Shark attacks are generally classed in two categories:

“Provoked” attacks

Attacks are considered to be provoked when a human approaches a shark in its natural habitat and touches, pokes or otherwise aggravates it.

“Unprovoked” attacks

Unprovoked attacks occur when a shark approaches a human. They fall into three subcategories:

  • Hit and run: A previously unseen shark takes a bite, then swims away. This is considered to be a case of the shark mistaking a human for a prey animal.
  • Bump and bite: The shark is curious about the human, circling and bumping with its snout before taking “test bites”.
  • Sneak attack: Extremely rare; a previously unseen shark takes several deep bites, with the intention of preying on a human. This is the most lethal form of attack.

Source: International Shark Attack File