Pictured: British civil servant, 44, 'who was eaten by a shark' off holiday island Réunion

8 November 2019, 08:39

Richard Turner has been named as the victim of a fatal shark attack
Richard Turner has been named as the victim of a fatal shark attack. Picture: Facebook

By Asher McShane

A British tourist feared to have been ‘eaten’ by a shark has been named as a civil servant from Edinburgh.

Richard Martyn Turner, 44, went missing after going swimming on Saturday in what was thought to be a ‘safe’ lagoon on the paradise holiday island of Reunion.

He was snorkelling alone in the Indian Ocean when he was attacked.

Mr Turner is believed to have fallen victim to a tiger shark attack (file image)
Mr Turner is believed to have fallen victim to a tiger shark attack (file image). Picture: Getty

His severed hand and forearm were found later in the stomach of a killed tiger shark.

His wife identified his remains through his wedding ring.

The foreign office did not comment on the victim’s identity. Mr Turner was named locally as the victim of the attack.

His body has not been found. DNA tests are being carried out on the remains found inside the shark.

A source said: "The tourist and his wife were spending a week on the island and he had gone out snorkelling in the Hermitage Lagoon, off Saint-Gilles, alone on Saturday.

"When he did not get back, his wife sounded the alarm, and a full search was launched, involving boats and a helicopter.

"Divers searched around a coral reef in the area, and there were also patrols on land involving sniffer dogs. Sadly, the man could not be found."

Earlier this week a Tiger shark was killed on the island as it was considered a threat to holidaymakers. An autopsy was then carried out on the shark, as well as four other fish.

A spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office said: "We are providing support to the family of a British man who died whilst snorkelling in La Réunion and are in contact with local authorities."

Shark attacks around the Reunion island are common. The island is a French territory, located in Southern Africa in the Indian Ocean, between the islands of Madagascar and Mauritius.

Swimming and water activities are heavily restricted on the Reunion island, due to the danger posed by sharks.

The shark that is believed to have killed the tourist is a 10ft long Tiger shark. Found in tropical and temperature waters, its species is second only to the great white in recorded fatal attacks on humans.

On a visit to Reunion last month, French president Emmanuel Macron said his government was doing its utmost to manage the island's shark crisis.

'I know all about the trauma and tragedy that has taken place,' said Mr Macron said.

The incident comes after a British man had his foot bitten off in a shark attack on a snorkelling tour in Australia.