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Shark kills 13-year-old surfer off island in the Indian Ocean

Flowers and pebbles mark a spot on a beach in Reunion where 13-year-old Elio Canestri was attacked and killed by a shark. (Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images)

A 13-year-old surfer was killed in the waters off an Indian Ocean island on Sunday morning after he was attacked by a shark, in full view of horrified onshore onlookers.

Elio Canestri, described by pro surfer Jeremy Flores as “one of our best up and coming” surfers, reportedly was surfing in an area off the French-ruled island of Reunion that is notorious for shark attacks, with 16 over the past four years (seven of them fatal). NBC News reports that all water activities in Reunion — off the coast of Madagascar — have been banned except in select areas watched by lifeguards.

Here’s NBC News with more:

Elio Canestri was surfing with seven others off the west coast of the island on Sunday morning when a Bulldog shark attacked, a spokesman for the island’s rescue services agency told NBC News. The shark sunk its teeth into the teen’s stomach and flung him around the water as he prepared to mount a wave, the spokesman added.
“A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds,” the spokesman said, declining to give his name due to company policy. “Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma.”

Flores paid tribute to Canestri on Instagram:

“A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds,” a rescue services spokesman told the International Business Times. “Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma.”

According to National Geographic, bull sharks are considered by experts “to be the most dangerous sharks in the world” because of their tendencies to hunt in shallow, warm waters and eat just about anything they encounter.

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