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Alexandre Rassica, 22, killed by shark attack Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

Updated on July 16, 2013

Yet another young life was wasted when a shark attacked 22 year old Alexandre Rassica as he was surfing off Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

He was about 100m (330ft) from shore at Trois-Bassins, on the west side of the island, when a shark attacked him and bit off his right leg.

Fellow surfers went to his aid and dragged him to the shore, where paramedics were quickly on the scene.

It was too late. Mr Rassica had suffered a cardiac arrest through shock and blood loss, and despite working on him for more than an hour, they were unable to save his life.

This brings the total number of deaths by shark attack on Reunion Island to nine, since 1972.

Worrying, this is the third fatality in just over a year.

Great white shark breaching surface
Great white shark breaching surface | Source

In 2011, on the 19th of September, Mathieu Schiller, aged 38, was fatally injured while bodyboarding at St Giles, Reunion.

In June, just three months previously, 31 year old Eric Auber was mauled to death by several sharks while surfing just 200m (660ft) off the coast of Ti Boucan, Reunion.

These three deaths appear to herald a big increase in shark fatalities considering there has only been 6 in the previous 38 years.

Also in 2011, 32 year Eric Dargent lost his lower leg to a shark in the February, and was lucky to escape with his life.

Where is Reunion Island?

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Map of Réunion
Map of Réunion | Source

Reunion Island

Reunion Island is just a dot on the map, 500 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Nearby Mauritius is better known as a tourist destination, but Reunion would love to welcome visitors.

Home to up to 800,000 people, this tropical island is only 38 miles long and 28 miles wide. Situated right on top of one of planet Earth's hotspots, it is volcanic with both extinct and active volcanoes.

With heavy forestation on the mountains, it is amazing that there is room for all these people too.

To the west of the island are 17 miles of idyllic sandy beaches, with crystal clear azure waters to bathe in, and wonderful coral reefs just perfect for diving or snorkeling.

These warm coastal waters are also home to some of the most dangerous sharks on the planet.

Great white, tiger and bull sharks frequent all the waters in the Indian Ocean, and in recent years we have seen an increase in shark attacks globally, but more specifically an increase in fatal shark attacks around South Africa and Western Australia.

Just a week before the death of Alexandre Rassica, we saw Ben Linden bitten in half by a great white shark off the coast of Western Australia.

The premature and awful death of Alexandre Rassica has left another family shattered, and all here at sharkfacts send his friends and family our deepest condolences.


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    • profile image

      albert kok 5 years ago

      Just too many people entering the natural territory of the sharks in Reunion. The bull shark is mot a man eater. Its mass tourism

    • sharkfacts profile image

      sharkfacts 5 years ago from UK

      Hardi, thank YOU for filling our readers in on what is happening in La Reunion. There are no great whites there? Really? I know bull sharks are quite often called bulldog sharks and am shocked to learn, frankly, that there are fish farms in your coastal areas. Of course that will attract predators. I would love if you emailed me through my profile, which you can get to by clicking on my avatar. I am happy to raise the profile of the issues in your area which could be causing those devastating shark attacks.

    • profile image

      HARDI 5 years ago

      Thank you for your article. Just one thing : we have no geat white sharks down here... And the facts is a natural parc and a fish factory/farm attracts them. our authotities didn't thought at any time about potentially shark attacks when they decided to set up those things. May be they thoufght they were in mediterranean, west atlantic... Or a lake. The fact is a that a few super-green conservationnists guys played with people lives without thinking at any times about consequences. We are very angry and please don't tell theses bullshits like "it's shark territory etc". NON. BEACHES ARE NOT TEN fts BULLDOGS SHARKS TERROTORY. there was no bulldog sharks before so please...

    • sharkfacts profile image

      sharkfacts 5 years ago from UK

      The rise in fatal shark attacks seems to be only in the Indian Ocean for some strange reason. Could be related to shark chumming? Who knows, but certainly many of them end up as shark's fin soup despite being offered protection in Western Australian waters. Why they are turning against man is uncertain at this point. It could be a combination of factors. Best advice is to stay on dry land!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Yikes, I must admit that I am a total shark-a-phobe and this article re-affirms why. It does seem like shark attacks are on the rise. Very interesting reading.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This hub is so packed with interesting details and information. I had no idea that shark attacks were (again, I guess) on the rise. Even though they're rare, because of the unique safety issues, it's so important for people to know and understand the dangers. I admit the Jaws movie scared the crap out of me (and I still get the creeps when I hear the music that signaled the shark was near).

      I truly believe you are right about the things humans have done to increase the risks ('sport' activity such as chumming for the 'fun' of seeing a shark or diving in a cage just for the thrill is crazy).

      Great hub - voted up and shared!

    • sharkfacts profile image

      sharkfacts 5 years ago from UK

      I think you are most likely right and overfishing at sea is the most likely cause of sharks taking a bite at people in the water - that and the increase in surfing as a leisure activity. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would go surfing in shark-infested waters! I read this anecdote on the web somewhere -

      Q When do sharks bite people? A - When they are wet.

      And that just about sums it up. Stay on dry land and you won't get attacked.

    • AnimalWrites profile image

      AnimalWrites 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      How many people have been killed on the roads in Reunion Island since 1972? I just hope that these tragic deaths do not lead to some kind of anti-shark hysteria, as currently most shark species need all the help they can get to survive.

      Overfishing is one of the reasons that more sharks are coming closer into shore, as the fish stocks are dwindling and the sharks are getting more desperate for food. As well as irresponsible tourism activities such as cage diving and 'chumming' the water to attract the sharks to a boat.