La Reunion Shark Attack: Alexandre Rassica, 22-Year-Old Surfer, Dies After Losing Leg In Indian Ocean

Shark Bites Off Surfer's Leg

A local surfer died Monday in the Indian Ocean following a shark attack in which he lost his leg.

Agence France-Presse reports that Alexandre Rassica, 22, was surfing in waters off the French island of La Reunion, when a shark attacked him and bit off his leg.

Fellow surfers were able to recover Rassica and bring him to the beach at Trois-Bassins after the attack. Officials said that the young man had entered cardiac arrest by the time paramedics arrived.

This is the ninth deadly shark attack to be recorded in La Reunion since 1972. Last year, there were two fatal shark attacks off the coast of the island, which is a popular tourist destination. In one of those incidents, sharks shredded a surfer's leg and severed his right arm, police told the Underwater Times news service following the attack.

This is not the first extreme shark attack to be reported on this year. Last week, a great white shark reportedly bit a surfer in half off the coast of Western Australia.

According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 12 deaths from unprovoked shark attacks around the world in 2011. But although shark attacks often make news, some activists point out that humans are a greater threat to sharks than sharks are to humans.

A statement by the file's director, George Burgess, estimated that 30 to 70 million sharks are killed in fisheries each year. Shark populations face danger from finning, bycatch and fishing pressure, according to advocacy group Oceana.

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