Bodyboarder killed in shark attack after warning signs were vandalized

A 26-year-old bodyboarder was killed in a shark attack in an area of Reunion Island that is notorious for being a dangerous spot and was off-limits to swimmers and water sports.

Alexandre Naussance, who was once employed as a shark spotter by a surfing association, was bitten in the leg by a shark at around 9:30 a.m. local time Tuesday in Saint-Andre on the island east of Madagascar, according to Sky News and the Daily Mail.

“The victim was bitten in the femoral artery,” a police spokesman told the Daily Mail.

Fishermen and fellow bodyboarders attempted to save him as blood poured from the thigh wound. A helicopter with a medical team arrived too late.

“By the time he was pulled onto the beach he was dead,” the police spokesman said.

The area of beach where the shark attack occurred is located at the mouth of the Mat River, which is well known for attracting sharks, Saint-Andre deputy mayor Marie-Lise Chane told The Sun.

“The dangers of the site were indicated by signs prohibiting swimming and water activities, but they were sawn off over the weekend,” Chane said.

The BBC reported that fishermen warned the bodyboarders that sharks were in the area.

RFI reported that local authorities had issued an island-wide ban outside tightly supervised areas earlier this month, but surfers had been present at the site for several days.

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The Daily Mail wrote, “The fact that the victim was unaware of the danger prompted fears that he was a holidaymaker who had no idea that the waters were so dangerous. Locals later said that the man was part of a group of bodyboarders who had arrived on Sunday or Monday.”

Still, it remains unclear whether the victim either ignored the warnings or was unaware of them.

Last August, surfer Laurent Chardard, 21, lost an arm and a foot in a shark attack after being warned not to go into the water. It was among the 20 shark attacks off Reunion since 2011. This is the eighth fatal attack, the last coming in 2015 when a 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark.

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