A 13-year-old boy has been attacked and killed by a shark off Reunion Island after venturing into an off-limits area located along one of the deadliest coastlines in the world.
The attack took place around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the Mirror, as Elio Canestri was surfing just 50 feet from the island’s shore along with seven others. The shark struck from below Canestri, forcing him off his board and biting into his stomach. Witnesses related that the shark tore off the boy’s limbs and lacerated his stomach in the attack before the predator attempted to drag him out to sea.
Jérémy Flores a posté ça sur Instagram! ANOTHER shark attack in Reunion island this morning. 13 years old Elio was… pic.twitter.com/8BWu7EYURt
— Riversatile (@riversatile) April 12, 2015
“A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds,” local rescue services noted. “Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma.”
The brutal attack transpired at Cap Homard, or Lobster Cape, an area that is located on the western side of Reunion Island. Considered one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world, Reunion has been the site of 16 shark attacks over just the last four years, seven of which resulted in fatalities. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the island’s local government recently extended a ban on many ocean activities, except in approved areas. A volunteer program was proposed earlier this year, whereby surfers could return to the water as they tested various shark deterrent methods.
— The Independent (@Independent) April 12, 2015
An unnamed witness to the attack contacted a local radio station, relating their experience following the incident.
“It is horrific. The boy was always smiling and happy – everybody knew him. A gendarme helicopter appeared very quickly, and we were all told to evacuate the beach.”
Local authorities immediately instituted a set of pre-approved procedures in an attempt to track down the shark responsible. As Agence France-Presse reports, specialized shark fishing boats were deployed around the site of the attack, targeting the shark if it remained in the area. It was not immediately clear what species of shark was thought to be responsible for the attack.
The island has seen a dramatic drop in tourism since the attacks first began in 2011. Unfortunately, Canestri isn’t the first beachgoer to fall victim to a shark at Reunion this year, as a 20-year-old woman was fatally attacked in February.