Shark kills bodyboarder on Reunion island

Police, firefighters and onlookers stand by the covered body of a bodyboarder killed by a shark on a beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean on February 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Richard BOUHET)

Saint-André (France) (AFP) - A 26-year-old man bodyboarding off of Reunion island was killed by a shark on Tuesday, local officials said, in the latest attack in the waters of the Indian Ocean holiday destination.

It was the 20th recorded shark attack on the island since 2011, eight of which have been fatal, despite efforts by local authorities to install nets and warn locals and tourists about the dangers.

"This accident happened even though swimming and other water sports are forbidden in this area," the local government office on French-administered Reunion said in a statement.

The man, a former shark spotter from the island once employed by the local surfing association, was pronounced dead after the shark bit through a major artery in his leg off the eastern coast near Saint-Andre.

Surfing competitions only returned to the Reunion in February 2016 after a five-year absence triggered by a shark attack on local surf champion Eric Dargent.

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