The Pennsylvania woman who was killed by a shark while snorkeling around the Bahamas with her family was identified Wednesday as a Gannon University employee.
Caroline DiPlacido, 58, of Millcreek Township, worked as a project coordinator at the campus in Erie when she died on the water excursion Tuesday, university officials said.
A 1986 graduate of the university, DiPlacido returned to campus in 2009 as a secretary for marketing and communications.
As a project coordinator, DiPlacido was active in the university’s Erie-G.A.I.N.S. Initiative and the Our West Bayfront organization.
“Caroline was a powerful presence of kindness and friendship,” said Gannon University chaplain Michael Kesicki.
“The news in devastating, and she will be missed.”
In addition to her husband, David, DiPlacido leaves behind three children and her mother, as well as extended family and a wide network of friends.
Several of DiPlacido’s relatives declined to comment on the tragedy.
According to police, DiPlacido arrived in the Bahamas with four family members early Tuesday. The group was traveling on the Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas on a seven-day cruise, which departed from Florida on Sunday.
A spokesperson told CBS News that DiPlacido was attacked by a bull shark while snorkeling in the picturesque Green Cay area “on an independent shore excursion.”
Authorities were alerted to the attack shortly after 3 p.m. Family members tried to rescue DiPlacido, who sustained “serious injuries to the left side of her body.”
Royal Caribbean International later confirmed that DiPlacido died after arriving at a local hospital.
“Royal Caribbean is providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time,” the company said in a statement.
Gannon University said it planned to hold a vigil in DiPlacido’s memory at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“Let us remember Caroline with affection and hope,” the school counseled.
Gannon University did not immediately respond to a request for comment.