Mathieu Schiller, 32, was dragged off his surfboard while surfing off Boucan Canot beach on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. The attack by a tiger shark reportedly lasted less than 30 seconds. His body was not recovered.
The incident happened on Monday 19 September 2011.
Schiller, a European team body boarding champion in 1995, was surfing with a group of surfers when the attack happened.
There were around 20 people in shallow water and about five surfers out deeper when it happened.
We saw the shark’s nose emerge and then the man just vanished. It was very sudden, then the animal just swam off.
According to other witness accounts the shark circled Schiller before moving in “with terrifying speed”.
I was waiting for a wave with my feet in the water. We saw the shark and the next thing I knew was that he screamed and raised his arm.
We then saw a cloud of red blood in the water where he had been.
Reports differ about what happened next. Some say the surfers then managed to get Schiller, who was suffering from a gaping wound in his leg, back onto his board. One report says that the shark, which had become frenzied because of blood in the water, returned and hit the surfboard, knocking the victim back into the water. Another report says that a wave hit the board and Schiller fell off and disappeared beneath the surface.
Rescuers in a dinghy searching later for the body reported that a 4 metre bull shark had struck the dinghy trying to overturn it.