ORANJESTAD, Aruba, Wednesday December 23, 2015 – In a cruel twist of fate and timing, a Venezuelan man was killed by a shark mere moments before being pulled to safety after a shipwreck off the coast of Aruba.
At the time of the attack, the victim was clinging to a buoy, waiting to be reached by a rescuer who was being lowered from a helicopter.
The International Business Times reports that the victim was one of three people who died as their laden vessel, the Doña Matilde, capsized near Aruba.
The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard said they successfully rescued another four people from the water nearby.
The victim of the deadly shark attack, identified by local media as 58-year-old captain of the ship Adrian Esteban Rafael, was retrieved from the water, but died on the way to the hospital, according to coastguard spokesman Roderick Gouverneur.
The boat had left the nearby island of Bonaire with a cargo of whiskey to sell in Aruba when it capsized.
All those on board were Venezuelan nationals.
The other two victims perished when they went down with the boat, while the remaining four, who survived by clinging to a refrigerator and pallet, were recovering from dehydration at a hospital in Aruba.
Photographs purportedly showing the rescue operation were posted on Twitter.
Kustwacht Carib redt vier opvarenden van gezonken Venezolaans barkje Doña Matilde. pic.twitter.com/9h1DCoIdBh
— Roel Uckerman (@UckermanRoel) December 20, 2015