French teen bitten 'in half' by shark on holiday island

Jul 16, 2013

Girl, 15, becomes second victim of fatal shark attack on Reunion Island this year

AFP/Getty Images

A TEENAGE girl from France has been bitten in half by a shark while snorkelling off the same island in the Indian Ocean where a French honeymooner was killed by a shark in May.

The horrific attack occurred just a few metres from the shore in Saint Paul Bay, in the north-west of Reunion Island, The Guardian reports. The 15-year-old, who has not been named, was snorkelling in an area where bathing is forbidden because of the high number of sharks.

"Part of her body was carried away by the shark," the director of public safety in Saint Paul told Metro. "The conditions of the attack are surprising. You wouldn't think that a shark would get this close to the shore."

It is understood that the young woman, who lives in France, was visiting her father, who works at a yacht hire company on the popular French holiday island. She was snorkelling with another young woman when the attack took place at 2.30pm yesterday, but her companion was unharmed.

In May, a 36-year-old Frenchman on his honeymoon was killed by a shark as he surfed from the beach of Brisants de Saint-Gilles on the west of the island. His new wife, who was on the beach when the attack took place, was treated for shock at the scene.

The previous year, there were two shark attacks in the waters off Reunion, one fatal and one which resulted in serious injuries.  

Locals say there has been a sharp rise in the number of tiger and bull sharks in recent years. They say it is due to the creation of a marine reserve near Saint Paul's Bay six years ago and a sharp reduction in the number of sharks caught by fishermen because of a toxin found in their flesh that causes food poisoning.

Sign up for our daily newsletter