Seychelles bans swimming

2011-08-17 21:38
Victoria - Authorities in the Seychelles closed down beaches on Wednesday after a shark savaged a British honeymooner as his newly-wed wife watched in horror, in the second fatal attack on a tourist this month.

Ian Redmond, 30, was hauled into a boat and taken to shore following the attack but died from blood loss, police said.

"The shark tore off his arm and bit a part of his left leg," a police statement said.

His wife was on the Anse Lazio beach - a famous beauty spot hailed for its white sand on the archipelago's Praslin island - and watched helplessly as her husband was mauled by the shark.

"Two people who were on a boat not far from the attack tried to rescue him," the statement added.

"Ian Redmond did not survive his injuries because he had lost too much blood."

Authorities on the Indian Ocean archipelago have ordered fishermen to try to capture the killer shark.

The attack happened on Tuesday afternoon in the same area where a shark attacked and killed a 36-year-old French diver earlier this month.

Swimming ban

The Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority issued a swimming ban at the Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette beaches.

"Fishermen will be undertaking continuous patrols, research and fishing activities in order to capture the shark," the maritime authority said in a statement.

It said it would also reinforce a ban of "dumping of waste from yachts and other boats, which have been reported in some of these areas," which some fear could have attracted sharks.

"It is a rogue shark that has caused a freak accident," Alain St Ange, the Seychelles Tourism Board's director, told the BBC.

"We have now closed the beach, all the surrounding beaches and stopped diving in the area, to ensure we deal with the problem we are facing - and then reopen the beaches after."

South African shark experts have been invited to advise the authorities on how best to limit future attacks.

"We are not going to hunt the shark down - there is no way you can tell which shark was responsible," said Jeremy Cliff, from the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, a research centre working to protect swimmers in South Africa.

"However, we are going to examine the area, and will provide the government with recommendations to reduce the chances - as much as possible - of this happening again."

Attacks rare

The distraught widow said her husband's death left a "gaping hole in our hearts that will never be filled".

"We were having so much fun and we were so excited about our future together," Gemma Redmond in a statement.

The newly-wed couple were from Lancashire in northwest England.

Shark attacks are rare in Seychelles, with the last reported fatal attack before the recent killings in 1963, according to the government.

The 115-island archipelago is a popular top-end tourist destination, with some villa accommodation costing as much as €10 000 per night.

Britain's Prince William and his bride Catherine celebrated their honeymoon in the archipelago in May.

British officials said they were comforting the grieving widow.

79 attacks last year

"The British High Commissioner and the vice-consul flew out on Tuesday to support his wife," a British High Commission spokesperson said.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated travel warnings following the deadly attack, highlighting the swimming ban.

"You should avoid swimming at these designated locations until further notice," the warning read.

Last year, 79 people were killed worldwide by sharks, the highest in a decade, representing a 25% increase compared to 2009, according to researchers in Florida.

Thirty-six of them were killed in the United States, 14 in Australia, eight in South Africa and six each in Vietnam and Egypt, according to the figures released earlier this year.

Russia's Interfax news agency said on Wednesday a shark left a 25-year-old man badly mutilated in an extremely rare attack in the northwestern part of the Sea of Japan.

Read more on:    seychelles  |  southern africa  |  marine life
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