Shark Eats Tourist, Severed Hand With Wedding Ring Found Inside Its Stomach

A British man who went missing after going swimming off the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion is believed to have been eaten by a tiger shark.

A search was launched last Saturday when the unnamed 44-year-old man from Scotland did not return from a swim in the Hermitage Lagoon, off Saint-Gilles, in the French overseas territory, which is located some 500 miles from Madagascar.

The Sun cited a source saying a search party deployed included boats, a helicopter and divers who scoured the coral reef in the area. Sniffer dogs and patrols on land also tried to locate the man but to no avail.

A 10-foot long tiger shark that had been seen swimming in the area was killed because of the threat it posed to other tourists. An autopsy of the fish revealed a severed hand with a wedding ring on it, which is thought to belong to the missing man.

Indian Ocean island La Reunion.
A sign warns of the danger of shark attacks at the L'Etang-Sale beach, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. A British man was reportedly eaten by a shark off the coast of the overseas French territory. Richard BOUHET/Getty Images

The publication also reported that the hand was found in the shark's stomach and it is believed that it belonged to the missing man. Initial tests suggest that the wedding ring was the man's, although further DNA tests are being carried out.

A Foreign Office spokesperson told The Sun it was "providing support to the family of a British man who died while snorkeling in La Réunion and are in contact with the local authorities."

Last month, French president Emmanuel Macron said his government was trying to take measures to tackle the frequent number of shark attacks around the island.

Diving expert Tim Ecott, who is the author of Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World and is an underwater documentary maker, told Newsweek that the majority of victims on La Réunion have been surfers rather than swimmers.

"Unlike Seychelles or Mauritius, Réunion has few sheltered swimming beaches and lots of deep water close by," said Ecott.

"Bull shark and tiger shark populations around the island are significant and outside the lagoons, visibility is not crystal clear and these large species can get close inshore.

"Scuba divers are generally less vulnerable to attack, but again Réunion is not a big scuba diving area, as it has relatively sparse reefs. It's a wonderful island but I think anyone intending to do a lot of swimming, especially outside the shallow lagoons, should think twice."

"The truth is, there is always a combination of factors in a shark attack and we can never be 100 percent safe in their environment. Seychelles had never had a shark attack and then two swimmers were killed within a fortnight on the same beach," Ecott added.

Shark Eats Tourist, Severed Hand With Wedding Ring Found Inside Its Stomach | World