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French Bodyboarding Champion Missing, Presumed Dead After Shark Attack Off Reunion Island; Fourth Attack In 2011

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SAINT-PAUL, Reunion Island -- Mathieu Schiller, age 38, former champion bodyboarder, was reported missing and presumed dead after being attacked by a shark off the island of Reunion. The latest attack is the second deadly shark encounter at Boucan-Canot, a top tourist beach on the island, and fourth overall off Reunion since the beginning of the year.

Schiller, the head of a surf school, was attacked in the mid-afternoon while he was in the water with several other surfers. Local police said a red flag was present at the time of the attack, warning bathers to stay out of the water.

Witnesses to the attack managed to put the victim's body back on his board, but a wave swept it off. "The attack was devastating", said one witness. Shortly after the attack, rescuers searched the area with boats, jet-skis and a helicopter, but the victim was not found. "There is little hope that he is alive", commented one of the authorities on the scene.

The shark attack is the fourth occurrence since the beginning of the year on the island, the second fatal, said the police. Local authorities met after the attack and announced "immediate steps to prevent further tragedies." Authorities announced a ban of water sports within 300 meters of a posted red flag. The local authorities also suggested the removal of all tiger, bull, mako sharks from the area.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

7 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Before this year, I don't recall having ever heard of fatal shark attacks off Reunion. Reunion locals - has something changed there?
   comment# 1   - Chris Zaharias · Palo Alto, U.S.A. · Sep 21, 2011 @ 12:04am

What's changed is this: material depletion of the world's fish stocks. "Opportunity makes a thief." - Francis Bacon
   comment# 2   - drudown · Solana Beach, CA · Sep 22, 2011 @ 2:52pm

Leave the sharks alone, I'm sad for the victims but its the sharks ocean. You want safe swimming? Stick to a 3 ft deep swimming pool with lifeguards. I'm sure Mr Schiller knew the risks and wouldn't have it any other way. Leave nature alone and stop destroying the planet.
   comment# 3   - Paul · Reading, UK · Sep 23, 2011 @ 1:05pm

yes fish = food = 0 means less choice try french people
   comment# 4   - cedric lahon · france · Sep 23, 2011 @ 3:25pm

I'm no marine biologist but just how do you conduct a "removal of all tiger, bull, mako sharks from the area" ?
   comment# 5   - Wilbur · U.S.A · Sep 23, 2011 @ 9:02pm

@Chris Reunion has a history of annual shark attacks, mainly on surfers, and fatal every other time. The actual per capita rate of shark attacks on Reunion is one of the highest in the world. This year there have been a lot more, but nobody definitely knows why there are so many more this year.
   comment# 6   - Catharine · Réunion · Oct 22, 2011 @ 6:06am

Just catch the rouge that has came there to feed and the problem will go away, until the next time. Large bait, Large hook = Large rouge shark = will end the problem! Catch and Release the rest.
   comment# 7   - Marlin · Abingdon, USA · Jun 20, 2012 @ 9:38am
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