Elio Canestri, an up and coming French surfer, was attacked and killed by a shark yesterday.
The 13-year-old was attacked while surfing off of Reunion Island, which is renowned for shark attacks. Reports stated that the area was off limits to swimmers and surfers due to the risk of attack.
“ANOTHER shark attack in Reunion island this morning. 13 years old Elio was one of our best up and coming surfers,” said Jeremy Flores via Instagram. “Words can’t describe how sad and angry i am. So young !!! Heart breaking News. RIP :(”
Witnesses stated that Canestri was surfing 50 feet from shore when the attacked occurred. The shark bit into his arms, legs, and torso before dragging him out to sea. A rescue boat found the teens’ body, but he died from his injuries.
“A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds,” said a spokesperson from the rescue service. “Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma.”
The fatality took place off the west coast of the island called Cap Homard. The entire island is under a complete surfing ban, which was extended in February. Elio was involved in a coaching session just prior to the attack, along with several other surfers who had potential to become French surfing stars.
Since 2011, Reunion has seen sixteen shark attacks, seven of which have been fatal.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Elio, along with the entire surfing community of Reunion.