Friends, coworkers of Lowell woman killed by shark in the Bahamas mourn her ‘shocking’ death

LOWELL, Mass. — Friends and loved ones are mourning the tragic loss of a Lowell woman killed by a shark while on vacation in the Bahamas on Monday.

Royal Bahamas Police Force says 44-year-old Lauren Erickson Van Wart of Lowell was bitten by a shark while paddle boarding three-quarters of a mile from the shore of the Sandals Resort in western New Providence. She passed away from her injuries.

Neighbors are shocked and saddened by the sudden loss.

“Trip of a lifetime. It’s heartbreaking. It really is,” said Beth Stack-Emerson. She lives just across the street in Lowell from Van Wart.

“Shocking, I mean these poor people they probably looked forward to this vacation for months.”

Van Wart worked in Billerica at Curriculum Associates. Their CEO also released a statement which says in part:

“Our team is heartbroken and grieving the loss of a dear and trusted colleague and friend. Lauren was a beloved member of our math editorial team, and she infused her deep dedication to students and educators into every material she touched. Her commitment to excellence and outstanding work was driven by a higher purpose, focused on improving learning outcomes for all. Our Curriculum Associates community is mourning this tragedy and extends our deepest love and support to Lauren’s wonderful husband and all of her family.”

—  Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates

Back in Lowell, neighbors are praying for her husband who was with her during the attack.

“Oh my God terrible. I can’t even imagine… don’t want to imagine. My heart goes out to Ernest definitely,” said Stack-Emerson.

And they also offer their thoughts and prayers for Van Wart’s entire family.

“Pray, find some strength from God to get through this. How else do you get through it?” she said.

Boston 25 did reach out to Van Wart’s family but they declined to speak with us.

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