The fiancé of the Wall Street executive mauled to death by a tiger shark while scuba diving in Costa Rica last week is reportedly blaming the diving company for not keeping her out of harm’s way.
Dr. Jeffrey Rosenthal, a plastic surgeon who was engaged to Rohina Bhandari, 49, told the New York Post the divers who were with his fiancée didn’t have the necessary tools to ward off the shark.
“Apparently they didn’t have any protection — the divers or the instructors had nothing to ward off any of these fish, sharks,’’ Rosenthal said. “I don’t understand that aspect of it, that there was no protection for her or for the other guests for that matter.”
He added: “I just feel that the safety precautions they took were not as good as they should have had.”
Bhandari, a senior private-equity director for WL Ross & Co. who lived in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, died after a female tiger shark bit both her legs on Thursday while she was scuba diving near Coco Island with a group of people, Costa Rica’s environment ministry said in a statement. The island is a national park about 300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica.
Rosenthal, who called Bhandari a “10-star person,” said his fiancée loved scuba diving and had previously gone diving in Jamaica, the Galapagos Islands and the Bahamas. He added he found some comfort knowing she died while doing an activity she loved.
“She loved seeing the fish,” he said. “The wildlife fascinated her.”
The plastic surgeon recalled Rosenthal’s bright personality and how she went through life with a smile on her face. He described her as the more outgoing person in the relationship. She also often attended charity events.
“We’d go to an affair or party, and within five minutes she’d know everyone in the place,” he said.
Rosenthal told the New York Post Bhandari was someone who “befriended everyone,” recalling a moment when they attended President Trump’s inauguration party and spoke to House Speaker Paul Ryan after Bhandari met Ryan's wife in the restroom.
“There was a universe of stars, and she was the brightest,” Rosenthal said.
Bhandari leaves behind her 7-year-old golden Labrador, Simba, who Rosenthal will take care of — a promise he made to Bhandari when they first began dating.
“When we started going out many years ago, the deal was that I accept them both,” Rosenthal said. “And I accepted them with open arms, and a while later she said, ‘Well when are you going to adopt him as yours,’ and I said, ‘He’s adopted, he’s mine now,’ so Simba and I are now together.”
Rosenthal is asking anyone who wants to pay their respects to Bhandari to make a contribution to the foundation she supported — the South African based foundation, U.S. Friends of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center.
He added the foundation will name their next new animal after her.