13-year-old killed by shark off France's Réunion island

Witnesses described the boy being flung around the water as the shark bit into his stomach before carrying him out to sea

Elio Canestri a teenage surfing champion has been killed by a shark off the French holiday island of Reunion.

Elio Canestri, 13, was attacked while surfing with seven others reportedly in an area banned to swimmers because of the risk of sharks.

The youngster was 50ft out into the sea when the large fish struck from below, forcing him off his board.

Professional surfer Jeremy Flores, who grew up on the island, led tributes to the teenager.

The French surfer, who won the Billabong Pipeline Masters in 2010, posted on his Instagram: ANOTHER shark attack in Reunion island this morning. 13 years old Elio was one of our best up and coming surfer. Words can't describe how sad and angry i am. So young !!! Heart breaking News . RIP :(

Witnesses described the Elio being flung around the water as the shark bit into his stomach, just after 9am.

The shark tore off the child's arms, legs and part of his stomach, before dragging him out to sea.

A spokesman for the rescue services said: "A boat was launched very quickly, and the victim was dragged out of the sea, but he died from his wounds.

"Those who witnessed the attack, including other children, are being treated for trauma."

Another witness told local radio: "It is horrific. The boy was always smiling and happy – everybody knew him. A gendarme helicopter appeared very quickly, and we were all told to evacuate the beach."

 RIP Elio Canestri

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