Bad News: A man’s hand was bitten off by a shark. Good News: It was found. Bad News: It was found inside the shark’s stomach. A 44-year-old Scottish man was on vacation on Reunion Island, a French Territory in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. While he was swimming in the Hermitage Lagoon, off Saint-Gilles, a shark chomped off his hand. The aquatic beast swallowed the tourist’s hand whole.
The tourist’s wife alerted authorities after her husband didn’t return from his swim. A search team of divers, sniffer dogs, boats, and a helicopter was assembled to find the missing man. Divers searched near the coral reef in the area, but they didn’t find the tourist. The search continued for days, but the man did not show up.
“It’s an area enclosed by a reef, there’s a very slight passage where it goes deeper into the ocean, but actually it’s really well protected by the reef,” a local man said.
A few days later, the Centre de Securite Requin (CSR) caught several sharks in the Indian Ocean. One tiger shark was caught four miles from the Hermitage Lagoon, and authorities performed an examination on the shark. Inside the tiger shark’s stomach, examiners found the missing man’s hand. The hand still had his wedding ring on, and the wife was able to make a positive identification that the hand belonged to her husband. On the bright side, she got his ring back.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are providing support to the family of a British man who died while snorkeling in La Reunion and are in contact with the local authorities.”
There were several warnings about potential shark attacks posted all around the island, including at the beaches and the airport. It is not uncommon for shark attacks in the area because Reunion Island sits on the “Shark Highway,” where there has had 10 fatal shark attacks since 2000, including two this year. Sharks migrate from South Africa and Australia.
Thankfully, the research team weren’t afraid to perform a half-ass autopsy on a fish and see that thing cut open and see the man’s hand spill out on the dock to help identify this man.