A 26-year-old woman died Saturday after she was attacked by a shark while swimming at a beach in southern Jalisco.
María Fernanda Martínez Jiménez was swimming with her 5-year-old daughter at a coastal aquatic park in Melaque when she was bitten on her upper leg. The attack occurred at around 11 a.m.
According to local Civil Protection chief Rafael Araiza, Martínez was trying to lift her daughter onto a floating play platform 25 meters from the beach when the shark attacked. The young girl was not harmed.
Civil Protection authorities in Cihuatlán, the municipality where Melaque is located, said in a Facebook post that its personnel rushed to the beach after they received news of the attack.
But Martínez, who lived in a nearby town and reportedly worked at a local hotel, had already died due to blood loss.
Civil Protection personnel who spoke with the Milenio newspaper said that the woman’s leg was completely severed. Authorities didn’t say what type of shark attacked Martínez, and it was unclear whether anyone actually saw it.
There was initially some conjecture that a crocodile caused the fatal injury.
Beaches in Melaque and the nearby town of Barra de Navidad were closed after the attack. The municipal government of La Huerta, which neighbors Cihuatlán, warned of the presence of a shark off the coast of southern Jalisco and advised citizens to “take precautions” at local beaches.
The Centro Universitario de la Costa Sur, a University of Guadalajara campus where Martínez studied marine biology, expressed its condolences in a post on social media.
Shark attacks are quite rare in Mexico, but not unheard of. A United States tourist was bitten on the leg in 2019 while he was swimming at a beach in Troncones, Guerrero, while a U.S. diver was bitten on the arm in Magdalena Bay off the Baja California Sur coast in another non-fatal attack the same year.
A 37-year-old scuba diver died in 2018 after he was attacked by what is believed to have been a shark in the waters off Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.