Teen Girl Torn Apart by Shark

15-year-old snorkeler attacked, killed off French island

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2013 3:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – Gruesome: a 15-year-old girl has been killed in a shark attack off the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. More gruesome: only part of her body has been recovered—the shark took the rest of her with it, the AFP reports. "Part of her body was carried away by the shark. Firefighters, lifeguards and a police helicopter are carrying out a search," says a local public safety official. The girl was a tourist visiting from mainland France.

The teen was snorkeling just a few yards from shore when the attack took place, albeit in an area forbidden to swimmers due to the high number of sharks there, Reuters reports. "The conditions of this attack are very surprising," says the official, per AFP. "We didn't think a shark could come so close to the shore." Well maybe not that surprising: there have been five shark-related deaths near Reunion since 2011, Reuters reports. Shark numbers have increased in the area because a toxin found in local sharks' flesh makes them dangerous to eat, so few people fish for them these days.

Boucan Canot beach in the Reunion island, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean.
Boucan Canot beach in the Reunion island, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
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