The island has put measures in place to protect people from shark attacks

A British tourist reported missing over the weekend was eaten by a shark, after what is believed to be his severed hand was found inside the shark.

Mail Online reports: “The 44-year-old British national from Scotland had been swimming off the holiday French island of Reunion, east of Madagascar, when he disappeared.”

An investigating source said: “The tourist and his wife were spending a week on the island and he had gone out swimming in the Hermitage Lagoon, off Saint-Gilles, alone on Saturday.

“When he did not get back, his wife sounded the alarm, and a full search was launched, involving boats and a helicopter.

“Divers searched around a coral reef in the area, and there were also patrols on land involving sniffer dogs. Sadly, the man could not be found,” the report said.

While local newspapers posted a photograph of one of five sharks caught in the area this week, it remains unclear whether it is the one in which the tourist’s hand was found.

The shark photographed was killed after it was spotted “swimming near tourist beaches” and was “considered a threat to holidaymakers”,

“Autopsies were carried out on the shark and four other fish, and a severed hand wearing the wedding ring of the British holidaymaker was found,” the report said.

There are frequent shark attacks around Reunion, which is in the Indian Ocean, some 500 miles from Madagascar (a map showing the location of Reunion island)

“A police source on Reunion said the man had been described by his family as a ‘strong swimmer’.

“It is feared that the hand belonged to a tourist who was reported missing on Saturday afternoon by his wife,” the source added.

“There are frequent shark attacks around Reunion, which is in the Indian Ocean, some 500 miles from Madagascar.”

The report continued: “Tiger sharks have a record second only to Great White sharks for attacks on humans, but it may be that the man drowned and his corpse attracted the fish.

“DNA tests are due to be carried out on the hand, but scientists from the CSR Shark Safety Centre on Reunion have been told that the wedding ring on the it ‘conformed to one identified by the man’s wife,’ said the source.

“The dead Tiger Shark was more than 10ft long and was one of five considered a threat to those in the sea.

“Swimming and other water activities are heavily restricted on Reunion due to the high risk of shark attacks.”

It was also noted that “there are frequent shark attacks around Reunion, which is in the Indian Ocean, some 500 miles from Madagascar.

French island of Reunion, near Madagascar, where the attack took place off Plage de l’Hermitage (pictured)

“In May, a 28-year-old surfer had his leg ripped off by a shark, and his dead body was later found floating in the port of Saint-Leu.

“It marked the 24th shark attack and the 11th fatal one reported on Reunion since 2011.

“This led to the local government urging caution in the sea, citing the risk of bull shark attacks amid shifting temperatures.

“Reunion is one of the world’s black spots for shark attacks, leading to the local authorities constantly launching campaigns to try and deal with the problems.

“They are also frequently accused of playing down the danger so as not to damage the holiday industry.”

But the report also noted that while “many beaches around Reunion are closed to swimmers and surfers…bans are often ignored”.

“Reunion is classed administratively as an overseas department of France, the equivalent of a county.”

  • Top Feature Photo: Local paper clicanoo.re posted this picture of one of five sharks caught this week. It is unclear whether it is the one in which the tourist’s hand was found

 

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