Tiger Shark Attack on a Scuba Diver in New Caledonia

Published on
16 June 2022

Tiger Shark Attack on a Scuba Diver in New Caledonia

Claude Maillaud MD, PhD, Joseph Fournier MD, MS, Anne-Laure Guittonneau MD, Philippe Tirard Assistant Engineer, Tyler Bowling MS, Gavin Naylor PhD


Herein we report an unprovoked shark attack on a scuba diver in New Caledonia. The species responsible for the attack was identified as a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), based on both the victim’s testimony and forensic examination. The victim suffered significant loss of soft tissues from one thigh, which resulted in hemorrhagic shock. Even though the event occurred at a remote location, miles away from the nearest hospital, appropriate first aid, immediate deployment of an alert system, and prompt helicopter transfer by an emergency rescue team allowed the victim to be transferred to an intensive care unit in stable condition and to undergo surgery within 4 h of being bitten. Early coverage of exposed bone was performed, followed up with negative pressure dressing, antibiotic treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and a split skin graft. In spite of the massive muscular loss incurred, the victim was able to regain her ability to walk within 6 wk of the incident. Shark attacks on scuba divers are rare and seldom reported, especially in New Caledonia.

Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2022.04.003


Leave a Reply