American boy, 10, in hospital after attack in Bahamas ‘walk with the sharks’ attraction

Visitors view the sharks at Atlantis Resort from an underwater tunnel
Visitors can view the sharks at Atlantis Resort from the safety of an underwater tunnel - JEFFREY GREENBERG/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP EDITORIAL VIA GETTY IMAGES

A 10-year-old boy has been bitten on the leg in a “shark tank” attraction at a luxury Bahamas resort.

Witnesses say they saw a “pool of blood” in the water after the boy, from Maryland, USA, was attacked. He was taken to hospital for treatment to a leg injury and is in a stable condition, authorities said on Wednesday.

The incident is reported to have taken place at the Atlantis Resort, a 400-acre tourist trap made up of hotels, casinos and water parks that dominates Paradise Island.

Local police said they had launched an investigation without specifying the exact location. But witnesses described an attack at the Atlantis in graphic detail to NBC News.

The Atlantis retreat offers a “walk with the sharks adventure”, according to a webpage that has since been taken down. Participants do not need to be able to swim and can apparently go “nose-to-nose” with Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks in a designated pool.

The Atlantis Resort dominates Paradise Island in the Bahamas
The Atlantis Resort dominates Paradise Island in the Bahamas - LAURIE CHAMBERLAIN/CORBIS DOCUMENTARY RF

“Once the little boy came down it took a dark turn,” a witness told US media. “We saw the shark just homing in on him and then just a pool of blood afterwards.”

The screaming child was reportedly taken to a nursing station on the island as the rest of the visitors fled.

Publicity photos on the Atlantis website show holidaymakers in wetsuits and modified diving gear walking surrounded by sharks.

A description reads: “Using state-of-the-art clear glass helmets, resort guests can walk on the bottom of the shark exhibit and find themselves nose-to-nose with the guardians of the lost world of Atlantis. No swimming experience necessary.”

Other photos show a woman holding up a starfish to the camera while a shark floats in the background, and an array of sharks and smaller fish floating at the steps of a replica Mayan temple.

Visitors can also view the sharks from the safety of a clear plastic tunnel, which lies at the bottom of a five-storey slide.

The holiday resort has seven different species of shark, including 7ft pacific blacktip sharks and great hammerhead sharks, which can grow up to 20ft. Just one of the species, the bonnethead shark, is listed as being harmless to humans.

Visitors meet sea creatures in their tank at a similar attraction in Dubai
Visitors meet sea creatures in their tank at a similar attraction in Dubai

The Royal Bahamas Police Force said in a statement: “A 10-year-old male child from Maryland, USA, was reportedly bitten by a shark shortly before 4pm on Monday.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the boy was bitten on the right leg by a shark while participating in an expedition in a shark tank at a local resort.

“He was transported to the hospital for medical attention and is currently in a stable condition. Investigations are ongoing into this incident”.

Paddleboarder died from injuries

Last month, a 44-year-old from Boston, Massachusetts, was killed by a shark while paddleboarding off the coast of New Providence in the Bahamas.

Lauren Erickson Van Wart was pulled onto a boat by a lifeguard but died at the scene, suffering “significant trauma to the right side of her body”.

A 47-year-old German woman went missing in an apparent shark attack while on a diving trip off the island of Grand Bahama in November. She is believed to have been attacked by a tiger shark off an area known as Tiger Beach.

Atlantis Bahamas has been approached for comment.

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