A honeymoon shark attack on a supposedly romantic French island has left a new bride a widow before her marriage had really begun. The tragedy occurred Wednesday at popular beach resort Brisants de Saint-Gilles on the island of Reúnion, an overseas department of France which is located in the Indian Ocean to the east of much larger Madagascar.
The wife was sunning on the beach while her 36-year-old husband was surfing. The shark bit him on the arm and thigh, spilling blood into the water that prompted a nearby swimmer to call for the lifeguards.
Unfortunately, the honeymooner’s injuries were so severe that he couldn’t be revived. His new bride is, understandably, under treatment for shock. At the time of writing, their names weren’t revealed.
The beach has now been reopened for sunning, but swimming, surfing, and other water activities are still forbidden.
While it’s the first shark attack of the season, it isn’t the first shark attack in the area. In 2012, 21-year-old Alexandre Rassiga died when a shark bit off his leg. There were not one but two fatal attacks in 2011.
Rassiga was a local surfer, but the victim of the honeymoon shark attack was from eastern France.
The new attack can’t be good for tourism, and authorities have struggled to control the problem in the past. Spotters are sometimes deployed to look out for sharks in the area. The local authorities have asked for scientific studies to figure out why shark attacks are on the rise.
Reúnion authorities have also called for a cull of sharks at a nearby marine reserve, where some surfers believe that an overpopulation of the animals has fueled the attacks.
South Africa is testing a special exclusion netting intended to keep sharks off popular beaches without causing harm to the sharks or to marine mammals. Reúnion may want to consider a similar program if the idea works.
Nobody wants to see any more honeymoon shark attacks.
[great white shark photo by Mogens Trolle via Shutterstock]