Quito, Jul 5 (EFE).- A tourist was bitten by a shark Wednesday while snorkeling in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian authorities said.
The attack occurred around 1:00 pm near the islet of Mosquera and the victim, identified as a Mexican woman with United States citizenship, was taken to a hospital on Santa Cruz, the largest island in the Pacific Ocean archipelago.
Doctors in Santa Cruz performed emergency surgery on the woman, Carla Reinoso, the head of the ECU 911 emergency response center on San Cristobal island, told EFE.
Video of the woman’s being brought ashore with a makeshift bandage on her leg went viral on social media.
Authorities said the woman will likely be transported in the coming hours to a hospital in the coastal city of Guayaquil to be evaluated by specialists.
Shark attacks are relatively rare in the Galapagos, according to Reinoso.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities in the islands, the world’s second-largest marine reserve, which attracted 267,000 visitors last year, roughly half of them from abroad.
The archipelago – which consists of 13 major islands, six smaller islands and scores of islets and rocks – was made famous by 19th-century British naturalist Charles Darwin, whose observations of life on the islands inspired him to develop his theory about evolution, natural selection and the origin of species.
Located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the coast of mainland Ecuador, the islands are home to more than 7,000 endemic and native species, many of them found nowhere else on the planet.