A surfer lost a “good chunk” of his arm while swimming back to shore after a surf session off La Reunion. The victim, a man in his 40’s, is the 18th person since 2011 to be attacked by a shark there since 2011. Seven of those attacks off the Indian Ocean island have been fatal, but this one luckily only cost the surfer part of his forearm and a visit to the hospital. A local surfer, Davy Stolk, had just gotten out of the water in the same area when he heard news of the attack on his friend.
“We haven’t had surf for two weeks until today, which was 4-5ft and glassy with super clear conditions, and boom – our first session back and another attack,” Stolk told ZigZag. “Seeing as I knew everyone who was out there, I was worried. I phoned my friend Tarzan and he said it was all good. Rudolph was paddling in through the channel and was just off the beach in front of the surf club when he got hit. Luckily he is safe and didn’t lose his forearm, but the wounds are pretty deep.”
As recently as April an attack on a 13-year old surfer named Elio Canestri pushed the fatal attack total over a half dozen in the area in less than five years. After that incident, France approved the increase of fishing for tiger sharks and bull sharks there. The increase has led to a 50-percent boost in authorized fishing trips aimed at catching sharks off La Reunion. At that time, the fear caused by frequent shark attacks in the area caused residents to start fleeing the island.