A shark bit a 15-year old girl in half on Monday as she swam just yards off the shore of France's Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The teen died immediately as half her body was carried out to sea by the shark, reported AFP.
The victim was visiting with her family from France when, while swimming with a mask and flippers, she was attacked in Saint-Paul Bay on the western side of the island.
The girl was reportedly snorkeling with another girl, who had just managed to get on the beach moments before the attack.
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"Part of her body was carried away by the shark. Firefighters, lifeguards and a police helicopter are carrying out a search," Gina Hoarau, the head of public safety in Saint-Paul, told the AFP. "The conditions of this attack are very surprising. We didn't think a shark could come so close to the shore."
The teenage victim was reportedly snorkeling in an unsupervised area of the island where bathing is forbidden due to high shark numbers, Reuters reported
Monday's shark attack was the second deadly shark attack this year off the French island, which is just east of Madagascar.
In May, a 36-year-old French honeymooner was killed by a shark while surfing off Reunion Island.
The shark reportedly targeted the man's upper and lower extremities
, biting both his arm and leg. The victim eventually died from cardiac arrest after losing a substantial amount of blood before first responders could get to him.
There have been five shark-related deaths on the island since 2011, Reuters reported.
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In response to the string of shark attacks last year, French officials hired professional fishermen to kill at least 20 sharks. According to locals, tiger and bull shark populations have however increased significantly since 2009, when local fishermen stopped hunting the oceanic predatory because of a toxin in their flesh that caused food poisoning.
Worldwide, there were 78 shark attacks reported last year, eight of which proved fatal.
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