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Shark Attacks at Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

Updated on July 31, 2013
Reunion Island, Indian Ocean. A tropical paradise.
Reunion Island, Indian Ocean. A tropical paradise.
Reunion Island map
Reunion Island map | Source

Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean is a French colony.

The people there speak French, and the vast majority of shark attacks there are on French people.

Being a part of France, people from there spend their vacations on this beautiful sunny location, with its palm trees, white sands and warm crystal clear waters.

While located far from Europe, Reunion Island is today a throwback from old colonial times.

Like Gibraltar is part of the UK while distant from its fatherland, so Reunion Island is a captured territory.

Yet now and again the terrifying reality of warm water sharks attacking people from cooler climes raises it ugly head.

Every shark expert from across the globe will describe those attacks as 'accidental'.

Sharks eat seals or porpoises, or other ocean-going creatures.

Human beings are not on the menu; we are much too boney and not salty enough for them.

That does not seem to stop the annual slaughter of humans while enjoying sea sports, or snorkeling to learn about sea life.

Let's have a look at the record of shark attacks on humans at Reunion Island.


Google Map of reunion Island in Indian Ocean

Shark Attacks Reunion since 2010

Shark Attack
Type of Shark
Activity
Fatal
13
unknown
swimming
yes
12
bull shark
surfing
yes
11
bull shark
surfing
no
10
unknown
surfing
yes
9
unknown
body-boarding
no injury
8
unknown
spear-fishing
no
7
unknown
canoeing
no injury
6
unknown
body-boarding
yes
5
unknown
kayaking
no injury
4
unknown
surfing
no injury
3
unknown
boogie-boarding
yes
2
unknown
surfing
no
1
unknown
surfing
no injury

15th of July, 2013 - fatal shark attack Reunion

A 15 year old girl was reportedly 'bitten in half' when attacked by a shark while snorkeling just 5 yards off a beach at Saint-Paul in the north west of the idyllic island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

The terrible incident happened at 2.30pm in the afternoon of July 15, 2013.

This is the time of day when sharks should be sleeping. They normally hunt for food between dusk and dawn.

Incredibly sadly, the girl should not have been swimming there at all. The beach is closed to swimmers due to the high numbers of sharks that are known the frequent the area.

The girl, known only as "Sarah" was spending the summer vacations on the island with her father who runs the yacht club in Saint Paul.

She normally lives with her mother in Paris, France.

2013 Reunion Shark Attacks

No. of Shark Attacks
Date
Shark Type
Fatal
1
8th May, 2013
bull shark
yes
2
15th July, 2013
unknown
yes
Stéphane Berhamel after he was attacked by a bull shark at Reunion Island
Stéphane Berhamel after he was attacked by a bull shark at Reunion Island | Source

Map of locations of 2013 shark attacks Reunion Island

show route and directions
A markerSaint-Paul, Reunion -
Saint-Paul, Reunion
get directions

15 year old girl bitten in two by shark

B markerSaint-Gilles, Reunion -
Saint-Gilles, Reunion
get directions

Stephane Berhamel, honeymooner killed by shark

8th of May, 2013, fatal shark attack Reunion

36 year old Stéphane Berhamel was spending his honeymoon on the French Island of Reunion when he was fatally wounded by a bull shark.

He had been surfing off Brisants beach in Saint-Gilles when a bull shark was witnessed attacking him twice.

As the water filled with blood, fellow surfers went to his aid and brought the badly injured man ashore.

The injuries to his arm and leg were too great, and he had already entered respiratory shock due to the tremendous loss of blood, and he died from his injuries.

He had been surfing in an area that was deemed to be particularly dangerous.

Fellow surfers had warned him to stay away from it, to no avail.

The tragedy was witnessed by his wife who was on the beach at the time.

He leaves behind an 18 month old son in his native France.


Reunion Shark Attacks 2012

No. of Shark Attacks
Date Happened
Type of Shark
Fatal
1
5th March, 2012
unknown
no injury
2
23rd July, 2012
unknown
yes
3
5th August, 2012
unknown
no

Map of 2012 shark attacks on Reunion Island

show route and directions
A markerSaint-Leu, Reunion -
Saint-Leu, Reunion
get directions

Fabien Bujon, severely injured by hsark

B markerSaint Benoit, Reunion -
Saint-Benoît, Reunion
get directions

Gerard Itema, board bitten by shark

C markerTrois Bassins, Reunion -
Trois Bassins, Reunion
get directions

Alexandre Rassica, fatally wounded by shark

D markerSaint-Leu, Reunion -
Saint-Leu, Reunion
get directions

Fabien Bujon, severely injured by hsark

Fabien Bujon in hospital after being attack on Reunion by a bull shark
Fabien Bujon in hospital after being attack on Reunion by a bull shark | Source

Daft surfing poll

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5th of August 2012, man badly injured by shark at Reunion

39 year old Fabien Bujon was surfing off Saint-Leu in Reunion Island when he was attacked by a bull shark.

He was in shallow water at a coral reef, 50 metres from the beach.

In typical fashion of bull sharks, it charged him again and again. He lost both his right hand and foot in the attack.

Bravely he fought the shark off.

It was 3 metres in length, weighing 250 lbs and for a time it was man against beast. Fabien punched the shark hard with his right fist while using his left hand to pull at the gills of the shark, hoping to make it let go off his leg.

After a time he realised his right hand was missing. The shark had bitten it off. He felt no pain and kept fighting, until the shark turned and left and he was able to ride a channel stream of water that took him back to shore.

All the while, he struggling to stop himself from fainting as he realised how severe his injuries were, but he felt no pain.

His wife and two children were in the nearby town at the time.

One of the saddest things about this attack is that Fabian loves the sea and the creatures in it. He paints pictures of sea animals, and sharks are his favorite.

close up of a shark's teeth and mouth
close up of a shark's teeth and mouth | Source

23rd of July, 2012, another fatal shark attack at Reunion

22 year old Alexandre Rassica was surfing off Trois-Bassins in Reunion Island when he was attacked by a shark.

His right leg was completely bitten off, and Alexandre was quickly assisted to the shore by fellow surfers.

Sadly, he suffered a massive blood loss and died at the scene, despite paramedicas working on him for more than an hour.

Alexandre belonged to the island, and had been surfing all his life.

5th of March, 2012, shark bites board

31 year old Gerard Itema had a lucky escape while body-boarding off Port de la Marine, at Saint-Benoit, Reunion Island.

A shark bit his board. He was injured.

2011 shark attacks on Reunion Island

No of Shark attacks
Date they happened
Type of shark
Fatal
1
19th February, 2011
unknown
no
2
15th June, 2011
unknown
yes
3
6th July, 2011
unknown
no injury
4
15th July, 2011
unknown
no injury
5
19th September, 2011
unknown
yes
6
5th October, 2011
unknown
no injury
7
11th November, 2011
unknown
no

Map of shark attack locations 2011, Reunion Island

show route and directions
A markerSaint-Gilles, Reunion -
Saint-Gilles, Reunion
get directions

Eric Dargent, lost leg in shark attack

B markerBoucan-Canot, Reunion -
Boucan Canot, Reunion
get directions

1. Eddie Aubert, fatally wounded by sharks. 2. Mathieu Schiller, killed by shark.

C markerRoches Noires, Reunion -
Spot de Surf des Roches Noires, Rue De La Plage, Saint-Gilles 97434, Reunion
get directions

Arnaud Dussell, shark broke board

D markerBrisants, Reunion -
Plage des Brisants, Reunion
get directions

unnamed kayaker attacked, no injuries

E markerCap La Houssaye, Reunion -
Cap la Houssaye
get directions

Jean-Paul Castellani, shark bit canoe

F markerSainte-Rose, Reunion -
Sainte-Rose, Reunion
get directions

Jean-Paul Delaunay, foot bitten by shark

11th of November, 2011, shark bites fisherman's foot

42 year old Jean-Paul Delaunay had his left foot bitten by a shark while spear-fishing off Sainte-Rose, Bois Blanc, Reunion Island.

The attack happened in the morning, which is always a dangerous time to be around sharks.

His injuries were severe enough to require hospital attention.

5th of October 2011, shark bites canoe

51 year old Jean-Paul Castellani was canoeing at Cap La Houssaye when his canoe was attacked by a 2 to 2.5 metre shark.

The shark bit his canoe, but did not injure him.

a surfer in Bucan Canot
a surfer in Bucan Canot | Source

19th September, 2011. Shark kills champion bodyboarder

38 year old Mathieu Schiller was body-boarding off Boucan-Canot, Saint-Giles, Reunion Island when he was fatally attacked by a shark.

Mathieu was one of a group of men surfing while the Red Flag was up to stay out of the water.

He was France's champion surfer in 1993, 1994 and 1995. In addition, he was master rescue swimmer and sports instructor.

15th of July, 2011, shark attacks kayak, no injury

There are reports of a male kayaker being attacked by a shark at Brisants on Reunion Island.

No details were reported about either the man or the type of shark involved, but it is believed to have bitten the stern of the kayak, causing no injury.

16 year old Arnaud Dussell with his broken surf-board
16 year old Arnaud Dussell with his broken surf-board

6th of July, 2011. Sharks bites surfboard in two

16 year old Arnaud Dussell was surfing off Roches Noires, Saint-Giles, when he was attacked by a shark.

A surfer for 10 years, Arnaud knew conditions were not ideal. The Red Flags were flying and the water was murky.

50 metres from the shore, Arnaud saw the huge gray shape pass underneath his board. He quickly took his foot out of the water, as the shark attacked.

His board got the worst of it. Arnaud suffered from only a scratch on his foot.

He was back surfing in the same area just 90 minutes later!

the surf-board belonging to Eddy Aubert, who died after being bitten by sharks
the surf-board belonging to Eddy Aubert, who died after being bitten by sharks

15th of June, 2011, fatal shark attack

31 year old Eddy Aubert was boogie-boarding off Boucan-Canot, when he was attacked by a shark, or perhaps a group of sharks.

He suffered severe injuries in the attack. The mutilated areas were around his leg and flank and he would have quickly bled to death.

The Red Flag was flying to deter swimmers.

The sea was murky and the attack happened shortly before night-fall, always a dangerous time because sharks like to hunt for food at this time.

Eric Dargent with his new prosthetic leg, especially designed for extreme sports
Eric Dargent with his new prosthetic leg, especially designed for extreme sports

19th of February, 2011 - surfer loses leg in shark attack

32 year old Eric Dargent lost his left leg from the knee down when he was attacked by a shark while surfing off Trois-Roches, Saint-Gilles, Reunion Island.

He had just finished a two-hour surf session and was preparing to return to the beach to join his wife and family who were eating ice-cream.

The waters were crystal clear, the sands white. He was just sitting on his board enjoying the moment when from the deep came a monster shark. The first he knew of its presence was when it wrapped its teeth around his leg.

The shock and horror of it all happened in an instant, as the shark retreated with his leg severed clean off from just below his knee.

Other surfers came to his assistance and a tourniquet was applied. This probably saved his life as he would have otherwise bled to death.

This was the first shark attack ever in Saint-Gilles.

Older shark attacks on Reunion this century

27th March, 2010. Oliver Schorebreak, 37, had his board bitten by a 1.5m shark at Bittern, Saint-Benoit, Reunion Island. He suffered no injury.

4th July, 2007. Vincent Boujou, 17, was attacked by a 2m shark while body-boarding at Boucan Canot, Reunion. He suffered minor injuries to his thigh and knee.

27th August, 2006. Gérald Préau, 27, suffered laceratiions to his right calve and heel while body-boarding off Boucan-Canot.

*FATAL* 20th August, 2006, Sébastien Émond, 34, was fatally wounded by a shark while surfing off Pointe du Diable, Saint-Pierre, Reunion.

Early August, 2006. A man had this thigh bitten by a 1.5m shark, while spearfishing at Le Port, Reunion Island.

6th October, 2004. Vincent Motais, age 15, had his leg surgically amputated after he was severely bitten by a 2.5m tiger or bull shark. He had been body boarding off P' tit Paris, Saint Pierre, Reunion.

27th March, 2004. Rémy Lorion, 20, had his right thigh bitten by a 2.5m shark while surfing off Spot de la gare, Saint Benoît.

8th of September, 2000. Karim Mann, 27, had his left arm bitten by a 3m tiger shark while surfing off Pic du Diable, Saint-Pierre.

Boucan Canot Beach, Reunion Island
Boucan Canot Beach, Reunion Island

1990s shark attacks on Reunion

*FATAL* 11th April, 1999. Gary Oudin, 52, was fatally wounded by three bull sharks off Etang Salé-les-Bains. He had been swept into the sea by a large wave, and was swimming back to the shore when he was attacked.

*FATAL* 3rd January, 1999. An unnamed man was fatally wounded by a bull shark while spearfishing off Pointe au Sell, Sain Leu.

1st October, 1998. An unnamed person was attacked by a shark while diving off Saint Benoît. He is noted as having survived.

*FATAL* 25th January, 1998. Philippe Blu was fatally injured by a shark while bathing off Grand'Anse, Reunion.

*FATAL* 1998. A man died after being attacked by a shark while diving at Beaufonds.

20th February, 1997. Laurent Lebon had his hand injured by a shark in the waters off L'Etang-Sale, Reunion.

*FATAL* 3rd January, 1997. Spearfisherman David Lonne was killed by a bull shark at la Pointe-au-Sel.

*FATAL* 10th January, 1996. Grégory Bénèche, 25, was fatally mauled by a 300kg tiger shark while surfing off Embouchure de l'étang de Saint Paul, Reunion.

*FATAL* 16th September, 1995. Jerome Pruneaux was killed by a shark while body-boarding off Saint-Denis.

*FATAL* 9th July, 1994. Thierry Bouley was fatally wounded by a 3.5m bull shark while windsurfing off Barachois, Saint-Denis.

*FATAL* 15th April 1994. Someone was killed by a 3m bull shark off Lieu-dit Cayenne, Saint-Joseph.

*FATAL* 28th June, 1992. Theirry Mercredi, 16, was attacked and killed by either a bull or a lemon shark, while surfing off Cap de la Marianne, Saint-Paul.

June, 1992. A diver was attacked by a mako shark at Saint-Paul. He survived.

*FATAL* 22 May, 1992. Emmanuel Nativel was surfing off Lieu-dit Cayenne, Saint-Joseph, when he was attacked and killed by a 4m tiger shark.

29th January, 1992. Spearfisherman Richard Carnoy survived an attack by a 1.8m grey shark at La Saline-les-Bains, Reunion.

1st July, 1991. Alain Curco-Llovéra, 30, had his left arm severed by a 4m tiger shark while surfing off Saint-Leu et l'Etang Salé.

5th March, 1990. Wagner Cataldo-Beugleu survived an attack by a 3m bull shark while surfing off Sainte Marie, Reunion Island.

Reunion Island tropical paradise beach
Reunion Island tropical paradise beach

1980s shark attacks on Reunion Island

*FATAL* 19th July, 1989. Bruno Giraud was fatally wounded by a shark while surfing off Sainte-Suzanne.

*FATAL* 28th April, 1988. Spearfisherman Jean-Felix Taochyn was fatally injured by a shark at Saint-Louis, Reunion.

14th March, 1988. Frédéric Mousseau suffered lacerations to his hand when attacked by a shark while surfing off Pic du Diable, Saint-Pierre.

30th November, 1981. Lucien Mercier survived a shark attack while spearfishing at Vicendo, Saint-Philippe.

24th November, 1980. Jean-Michel Pothin, 22, survived after being bitten twice by a 1.8m great white shark while spearfishing off Grand'Anse, Reunion.


Do you still want to go into the water after reading this hub?

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Historical shark attacks Reunion. Incomplete records held.

*FATAL* 1975. A soldier was killed by a shark.

*FATAL* 1st December, 1972. A spearfisherman was fatally wounded by a shark off Basse Vallée, Saint Philippe.

*FATAL* 1913. A swimmer was taken by a shark off Barachois, Saint-Denis.

*FATAL* summer of 1912. Two attacks at Barachoise, Saint-Denis. One fatal, the other unknown.

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    • profile image

      bichon 5 months ago

      The first photo of your article is not Reunion Island .

    • sharkfacts profile image
      Author

      sharkfacts 4 years ago from UK

      I saw on the news they are going to do another shark cull at Reunion. Being a French island, it is part of the European Community and there will possibly be a backlash against it by protectionists, but after the 15 year old was killed, I think they are doing the right thing.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      This is truly scary! I guess it's time for another sequel to Jaws.

    • sharkfacts profile image
      Author

      sharkfacts 4 years ago from UK

      It's disconcerting to note that shark attacks have actually increased at Reunion Island. Measures put in place to protect the sharks have resulted in much higher numbers frequenting the shallow reefs. With the increase in tourism due to the affordability of cheap international travel, we have a series of disasters waiting to happen. If only we could live in harmony with sharks, but we just haven't worked out how to do it yet (without staying out of the water).

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub. I suppose we all think it will never happen to us, but the reality is that if we put ourselves into the shark's natural habitat - the ocean - we have to be prepared to take our chances.