An autopsy on the dead body of a French woman on holiday in the Caribbean island of St Martin has confirmed that she died of a shark attack.
The 38-year-old tourist suffered multiple shark bites as well as losing a leg after swimming 500 metres (492 feet) from the shore in the French Caribbean territory of St Martin on Thursday last week.
The young woman, who was not named, was on a sabbatical on the Caribbean when she was attacked by a shark.
The secretary-general of the prefecture, Mikael Dore, said: “It was probably a tiger shark of significant size, three to four metres in length.”
Following the incident, the authorities decided to extend the ban on swimming and water sports until 16th December.
Dore said: “Swimming should be avoided after heavy rains or when the water is cloudy. The shark’s vision is blurred and it can confuse a prey.”
Nicolas Maslach, director of the Saint-Martin Nature Reserve, said: “The time of the attack is very important, but we know that the water was and still is very turbid.”
The authorities said they are waiting for confirmation that there is a confirmed daily presence of sharks in local waters before deciding what further action to take, according to French news source 20 Minutes.
A scientific monitoring group has been set up and will meet on Monday. Experts from Tahiti, Reunion Island, the United States, and the Antilles shark network will be called upon to make the best decisions to protect the population.
Shark attacks are extremely rare in the Caribbean region with only 34 unprovoked shark bites since 2000, with four of them fatal, and only one unprovoked non-fatal attack in St Martin which happened in 2005.
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