French girl, 15, is ‘sliced in half’ by shark while snorkelling off Indian Ocean island #SurfReport





By Peter Allen

PUBLISHED: 10:17 EST, 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:49 EST, 15 July 2013

A teenage girl ‘died instantly’ when she was sliced in two by a shark while snorkelling near the beach on a paradise island in the Indian Ocean.

The 15-year-old, who lives on the French mainland, was less than 15 feet (five metres) from the shore of the island of Reunion, located off the coast of Madagascar, when the savage attack took place.

Her terrified sister was among those who saw the girl schoolgirl disappear under the water at around 3pm today.


Paradise island: The girl was attacked as she swam off a beach on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean

The teenager’s body was sliced in two at the torso, and then ‘a part of her body was taken away by the shark,’ said a said Gina Hoarau, the head of public safety on the island.

She added: ‘The girls were in an area of St Paul bay where swimming is not allowed. She would have died instantly.

‘The operation to recover the upper part of her body is ongoing.’

Huguette Bello, the mayor of St Paul, said: ‘The girl, who was 15, came from mainland France and spent her holidays on the island.

‘She was staying on the island with her father, who is in charge of the yacht club in St Paul.

‘Both of the girls had masks and snorkels on, and were swimming just in front of the Bay restaurant.’

Mr Bello said it was the first time ‘in a long time’ that a shark had attacked swimmers so close to the beach.

There have been recent attacks on surfers, but it is highly unusual for sharks to come so close to the water’s edge.

The area around the restaurant was immediately closed to holidaymakers as the hunt started for the killer shark.
The shark swam off with part of the girl's body which workers are still trying to retrieve

Predator: The shark swam off with part of the girl’s body which workers are still trying to retrieve

In May a French honeymooner was attacked and killed by a shark while he was surfing not far from the beach on Reunion, which is in the Indian Ocean.

The 36-year-old was in the sea off the popular beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles when a shark charged at him twice, prompting a nearby swimmer to raise the alert when he saw blood on the water.

Lifeguards jumped in the water to fetch the victim, who had lost a lot of blood and was in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

They brought him back to the beach but were unable to revive him.

The shark had bitten the surfer on the arm and on the thigh. His wife was on the beach when the attack happened, and was treated for shock.

The latest deadly shark attack means there have been two on the island this year, while three people have been killed by sharks in the past two years.

Sharks are not man-eaters, but sometimes mistake humans for their natural prey, like seals or tortoises, and at other times hurt surfers as they ‘mouth’ them out of curiosity, experts say.

Last year, 78 shark attacks were reported around the world, of which eight were fatal.

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