Seychelles shark attack death scares swimmers: Ways to stay safe

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Wikimedia Commons

(CBS/AP) A deadly shark attack in the Seychelles islands has beachgoers fearing for their safety.

Ian Redmon, a 30-year-old British citizen, was killed as he swam while his wife, Gemma, watched in horror.

Sgeaid they were "having so much fun" on their dream honeymoon in Seychelles, located off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Redmon is the second tourist this month to die from a shark attack in the region. Nicolas François Virolle, 36, was killed in an attack August 1, The Guardian reported. Britain's Press Association says government officials have issued a ban on swimming in certain areas until the shark is captured.

"It was a freak accident," Alain St Ange, the head of the Seychelles tourism board told The Daily Telegraph. "We are closing the beaches pending the arrival of experts from South Africa."

How common are shark attacks?

In the U.S., there were 36 shark attacks in the U.S. in 2010, resulting in two deaths, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File. Internationally there were 79 attacks which caused six deaths. The odds of a shark attack happening are 1 in 3,748,067, according to the university. Comparatively, the risk of dying from heart disease is 1 in 5, from drowning 1 in 1,134, and from lightning strikes is 1 in 79,746.

According to the International Shark Attack File, here are ways to reduce attack risk when at the ocean:

  • Stay in groups while swimming - sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual
  • Do not wander too far from shore
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight hours, when sharks are most active
  • Do not enter the water if bleeding from an open wound or if menstruating
  • Don't wear shiny jewelry - reflected light resembles the sheen from fish scales
  • Avoid waters with sewage or those being used by fisherman. Look out for diving seabirds as good indicators of such
  • Use extra caution when waters are murky and 
  • Avoid uneven tanning and bright colored clothing - sharks see contrast really well
  • Refrain from excess splashing and
  • Do not allow pets in the water
  • Exercise caution when occupying the area between sandbars or near steep dropoffs - these are favorite hangouts for sharks
  • Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present and evacuate the water if sharks are seen while there

The International Shark Attack File has more on shark attacks.


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