You never want to hear stories like this. Safety precautions are in place to keep us from harm’s way but when the waves get pumping and the swell hits epic proportions the desire to go surf once in a lifetime waves often outweighs the fear of the unknown. The fact of the matter is that shark attacks are really, truly, EXTREMELY rare. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Reunion Island.
Reunion Island is a remote French island located out in the middle of nowhere in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. It actually has a sizable population of around 900,000, so by the numbers shark attacks on Reunion Island are also extremely rare, but unlike other parts of the world where fatal shark attacks are almost unheard of there were 7 deadly shark attacks on this island from 2011-2015 (17 total attacks)….Now to the story at hand….
Surfers were warned to NOT enter the water after a 2-meter wide hole was found in the protective shark net at the Boucan Canot beach on Reunion Island but with a massive swell on hand about a dozen surfers ignored the lifeguard’s red flag and went surfing anyways.
At about 5pm local time, almost exactly one hour before sunset (a time when sharks are known to be very active), 21-year-old local Laurent Chardard was attacked by a 10-foot bull shark and bitten twice and has lost his right arm and right foot due to the severity of the shark bites.
The surfer was rescued by lifeguard Bertrand Babef who broke his own leg and cracked his forehead while rescuing the injured surfer after his jetski/waverunner toppled when hit by a massive wave. Upon reaching the injured surfer the lifeguard immediately noticed a massive chunk of Laurent Chardard’s body was already missing and the situation was dire. So he powered through is own injuries and got the surfer to the beach and into surgery as quick as possible, ultimately saving the 21-year-old’s life.
Above: Surfer pictured paddling the westcoast of Reunion Island
I guess the silver lining in this story is that a lifeguard was able to snap into action as quickly as possible and save the life of a surfer who didn’t heed the lifeguard’s initial warnings. Just a bummer that a dude as young as Laurent Chardard will now go through life with these injuries all because of some waves.
For more on this story CLICK HERE to head on over to ZigZag.co