Shark attacks shake surfing paradise

2015-04-18 10:59
Bull shark (File)

Bull shark (File) (Shutterstock)

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Saint-Paul, France - Reunion, once a haven for surfers from around the world, has become a deadly black spot for the sport now plunged into even deeper mourning after a shark mauled Elio Canestri to death.

The 13-year-old, one of the Indian Ocean island's most promising young surfers, was killed after he ignored an official ban and hit the waves with friends.

Beaches

Canestri left a note for his mother saying "don't worry". But he was dragged off his surfboard by a 2.5m long bull shark and dragged out to sea.

The boy was the seventh fatal victim of shark attacks around Reunion since 2011. Nine others have miraculously survived surfing or swimming near internationally known beaches such as St Leu and La Pointe au Sel.

Three days after the killing, Canestri's father Giovanni joined 1,000 others at a memorial for his son on the beach.

Two hundred of the mourners went to the government office and tipped red paint on the road to protest against the lack of official action against the sharks.

Numbers have fallen

Canestri was the second shark death this year. A 22-year-old woman was killed as she swam in the sea in February.

Most of Reunion's surfers have already decided not to take any more risks however.

The number of licensed surfers in Reunion has fallen from 1,600 when bodyboard champion Mathieu Schiller was killed in 2011, to 400 now.


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