FRANCE

Bodyboarder dies after shark attack off Réunion island

L'Ermitage beach in Réunion
L'Ermitage beach in Réunion Samuel Hoarau/Open access

A 26-year-old man has died after being bitten by a shark while bodyboarding off the French Indian ocean island of Réunion.

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The man was attacked by the shark at about 9.00am local time and taken out of the water by rescue services at 9.30am.

Bitten in the femoral artery, he did not survive.

Despite a ban on swimming and surfing in the area, at the mouth of the River Mât, local people say surfers had been present there for several days.

Local authorities issued an island-wide ban outside tightly supervised areas throughout the island in February.

After the attack fishing boats were sent out to search for sharks.

The attack is the 20th in the sea off Réunion since 2011.

Eight of them have been fatal, the most recent was in 2015 when a 13-year-old surfer died.

There has been an unexplained rise in the number of sharks around the island and measures, including targeted fishing and nets around the main beaches, have been taken to limit casualties.

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