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FRANCE - Reunion island

13-year-old killed by shark off France's Réunion island

French gendarmes block demonstrators at the gates of the Reunion Marine Reserve building in Saline les Bains after a surfer was attacked by a shark in 2012
French gendarmes block demonstrators at the gates of the Reunion Marine Reserve building in Saline les Bains after a surfer was attacked by a shark in 2012 Reuters/Laurent Campas
2 min

A 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark off the coast of the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion on Sunday, the sixth death due to a shark attack there in four years. A 3.5-metre-long tiger shark was caught in the area of later in the day.

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The shark attacked the boy, identified as Elio C, biting off both his legs and part of his abdomen, when he was surfing along with six friends in a zone in which swimming and water sports have been banned.

His companions were taken in hand by rescue workers.

Local officials and councillors went to the scene on hearing the news.

A post-attack procedure was put into operation, resulting in the capture of the tiger shark later in the day.

There have been 16 shark attacks off Réunion since 2011, seven of them fatal.

The last, in which a 22-year-old woman was killed while swimming five metres from the shore, took place on 14 February.

In mid-February the authorities prolonged a ban on bathing and water sports outside a lagoon on the south of the island and certain beaches surveyed by lifeguards.

The ban, first introduced after the death of a 15-year-old girl in 2013, has proved unpopular with some islanders and tha authorities say they are preparing to try out some new controlled zones for surfers.

The attacks have led to a drop in tourism and led to all surfing and bodyboarding competitions being cancelled.

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