SINGAPORE (ASIAONE) - A woman in China underwent a four-hour operation where she needed over 70 stitches after a diving lesson with sharks went horribly awry.
The novice diver was swimming in a tank containing tiger sharks when she was attacked. Reports state that she was bitten on the head once before the shark let her go.
The incident reportedly occurred at the Dalian Laohutan Ocean Park in Liaoning, Northeast China, where the woman paid over 3,600 yuan (S$725) for the level 1 diving lesson.
Only referred to in the media as Nana, graphic images of the aftermath showed deep lacerations all over her scalp, forehead and jaw.
The manager of the club, who has not been named, sent a text saying he would cover all of Nana's medical expenses and any other necessary cosmetic operations in future, British newspaper The Mirror reported.
In addition, he promised to give her a professional diving theory lesson when she is fully recovered.
Nana is still negotiating compensation with the club and remains under observation in hospital.
Social media reactions on microblog Weibo largely expressed shock over Nana's predicament, with some commenters sympathising with her pain.
Others commenters who claimed to be at the scene said that Nana had provoked the tiger shark into attacking her.
"All who participated in the diving in Dalian were unharmed. The risks of extreme sports (like diving with sharks) should be borne by oneself and everyone signs a waiver form beforehand.
"I was there that day and the shark did not attack her unprovoked. She floated to the top and knocked into the shark's tooth which gave it a fright."
Another commenter wrote: "Before the dive, the staff warned divers not the touch the marine animals. She (Nana) went to chase after the sharks and touch it... There were many other participants. Why was she the only one attacked? The shark had no interest in her, it only attacked because she bothered it."
According to National Geographic, sand tiger sharks are described as having a "deceivingly ferocious look". They are a docile, non-aggressive species known to attack humans only when bothered first.
They live for 15 or more years in the wild, weighing up to 160 kilograms and growing up to 3.2 metres in length.