A bodyboarder has been killed by a shark off the coast of Reunion Island – tragically marking the 20th recorded attack on the island since 2011.
Local officials confirmed a 26-year-old man had died on Tuesday. Of the 20 attacks over the past six years, eight have been fatal as only some of the beaches on the west of Reunion are equipped with shark nets.
Apparently, the victim who was nicknamed, Crapo, had been employed previously as a shark spotter for the island. He was pronounced dead after the shark bit through his femoral artery in his leg at a spot called Santana, a river mouth on the east of the island, unprotected by shark nets.
The local government office on Reunion said in a statement: ''This accident happened even though swimming and other water sports are forbidden in this area.''
Jeremy Flores, from Reunion Island, said on Facebook: ''Another young passionate kid gone too soon, very sad... Make sure you score some perfect barrels up there with all the legends.''
Last year, Flores returned to his homeland and he and his father (deputy mayor of Saint Paul, the Island's second-largest commune) were able to initiate a programme of shark netting and surveillance that has helped Reunion's beach lovers get back into the water.
''We just wanted to help the island, we did it for the community,'' remembers Jeremy. ''If you look now the beaches are packed, the restaurants are packed and the surf schools are about to reopen. It has affected so much more than the surfers.''
After a five year absence, competitions returned to Reunion this time last year and local authorities are working to help raise awareness. A total ban on entering the water seems untenable but the future and solution for Reunion remains a hot topic.