FATAL – 2nd fatal shark attack on snorkeller at Anse Lazio, Seychelles – 16 August 2011 – witness account

This is a witness account (from one of several comments to SharkAttackMonitor ) of the second fatal shark attack in 16 days at Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles which took place today – 16 August 2011. Original comments are attached to this post:   http://wp.me/pMcbs-eH 

This witness account is from Ian who was on the beach when the attack took place.

I just wanted to give my account of what happened today. I was standing right on the beach during the whole thing. I am an American on honeymoon and decided to go to Anse Lazio because all the guide books say it is the best snorkeling in Seychelles. I had no idea there was a shark attack at this very beach earlier this month. It seems utterly unfathomable that 2 attacks in 1 month could occur on the ‘same’ beach.

This is everything I can remember…

I was seated on the beach when a lady beside me starting shouting something and pointing towards the water. I speak French and English and didn’t recognize it, but I think she was probably yelling that she saw fins?? Her husband ran towards the water and began waving at the nearby catamaran docked about 30 yards offshore. I could see someone in the water with a mask and snorkel about 20 yards offshore.

I didn’t know what was going on, but people started crowding around the edge of the water, and then dinghies launched from both catamarans. They circled the swimmer and pulled him into one of the dinghies.

At this point I thought maybe the swimmer had simply been too tired and called for rescue? Or maybe he had been stung by a sea urchin or something.

This is where honestly my nerves/emotions kicked in and my recollection may not be 100% accurate. I just want to write what I ‘feel’ I witnessed.

I believe the dinghy ended up taking the swimmer ‘back’ to the catamaran. It felt like there were nearly 10 or 15 minutes where people were just standing around on the beach, staring at the water and most of us were wondering what had just happened. Eventually the dinghy began heading back towards the beach. When it landed, many of the men on the beach ran up to help pull the dinghy to shore. This is when I saw the swimmer, who was missing a huge chunk of flesh from his left leg, so much so that I could see the bone of his thigh. He was sickeningly pale, but still had his flippers on both feet. At this point a woman ran over and started screaming… she said “that’s my husband! We were just married…”

I wanted to burst into tears. People all over the beach where just hugging whoever was close to them or squatting in the sand pulling on their hair, or trying to keep any children from witnessing what was going on.

After a few minutes some men moved him to the shore, I believe they tried to put a tourniquet on his leg, and I thought I saw a saline drip. At one point a man rushed over to help, I assume he was a doctor… I saw someone had a saline drip and they were elevating his right (uninjured) leg presumably to preserve blood.

After some time, perhaps 5 minutes I saw someone doing chest compressions and that’s when I knew this was a fatal attack. The ambulance arrived around 5 or 10 minutes even later than that (a full 30 to 40 minutes from the time of the accident).

I am so deeply saddened for the loss of the young woman. I had been snorkeling in the same area not 30 minutes before and was seconds away from actually jumping in the water to snorkel again (with my wife!) when the accident happened. I feel so lucky to be alive right now, I have never experienced anything like this.

My heart goes out to all those who were affected by today’s tragedy.

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