Missing Scottish tourist’s hand and wedding ring found in shark’s body

Man went missing while swimming off island in the Indian Ocean

Vincent Wood@wood_vincent
Thursday 07 November 2019 17:13
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Since the beginning of 2011 locals on the east African island have spoken of a ‘shark crisis’
Since the beginning of 2011 locals on the east African island have spoken of a ‘shark crisis’

The hand of a missing Scottish tourist has been found in the stomach of a tiger shark off the coast of Réunion Island.

The 44-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, went missing over the weekend, while snorkelling in Hermitage Lagoon – a region of the Indian Ocean island popular with tourists for its corals and vibrant wildlife.

He is reported to have been identified by the wedding ring that remained on his finger within the shark, which was caught just over four miles from the lagoon.

The creature was among several caught this week in the Indian Ocean by the Centre de Securite Requin (CSR) for research purposes.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are providing support to the family of a British man who died while snorkelling in La Réunion and are in contact with the local authorities.”

Since the beginning of 2011 locals have spoken of a “shark crisis” on the east African island, as the number of shark attacks has sharply increased.

In the last eight years prior to 2019, 24 attacks were reported while 11 of those proved to be fatal.

Half of those attacks involved surfers and bodyboarders.

As a result swimming and surfing has been banned in Réunion – a French overseas territory – since the summer of 2013 – with the acts only permitted in the shallow waters of the island’s lagoons.

French president Emmanuel Macron said last month that he would like to see water sports reintroduced by 2022, but added that he wanted “to be sure” that it would be safe to do so.

So far there have been two confirmed fatal shark attacks in the waters around the tropical island in 2019 – a fisherman whose leg was torn off in January and a surfer who was killed in May.

A post mortem is yet to confirm whether the most recent victim died through his encounter with the shark, or if he had passed away through drowning beforehand.

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