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- A 44-year-old British tourist went missing after going swimming alone in Hermitage Lagoon, off Réunion Island, a tropical outcrop in the Indian Ocean, last weekend.
- Researchers on Wednesday found a severed hand with a wedding ring inside a tiger shark’s stomach near where he went missing, multiple reports say.
- Investigators believe the man has died, but whether he was attacked by the shark, or had drowned before being eaten by the shark, is not yet clear.
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The severed hand and wedding ring of a 44-year-old British tourist has been found inside a tiger shark off the coast of Réunion island, a tropical outcrop in the Indian Ocean, multiple reports say.
Researchers found the hand inside the shark’s stomach on Wednesday, The Scotsman and the local Réunion La 1ère reported. The shark had been one of five caught earlier this week for research purposes, the outlets reported.
The tourist went missing on Saturday after going swimming in the Hermitage Lagoon alone on Saturday, during a week-long holiday with his wife, The Sun reported. The newspaper identified the couple as an English couple who moved to Scotland 15 years ago.
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He had left her for just “a few minutes,” the BBC reported, citing local resident Erick Quelquejeu. When he didn’t come back, the wife alerted authorities, who dispatched helicopters, planes, swimmers, and boats to look for him – to no avail for multiple days.
The shark was caught just over four miles from Hermitage Lagoon, the BBC reported. The wife later identified her husband’s hand by his wedding ring, La 1ère reported.
Investigators believe the man has died, but whether he was attacked by the shark, or had drowned before being eaten by the shark, is not yet clear, the BBC and The Sun reported.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told Insider in a statement “We are providing support to the family of a British man who died while snorkeling in La Reunion and are in contact with the local authorities.”
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The Sun identified the man as Richard Martyn Turner, and said he and his wife had traveled to Réunion to celebrate her 40th birthday.
The newspaper added that the tiger shark was nine feet long. Tiger sharks can grow more than 18 feet long and weigh more than 1,200 pounds, National Geographic reported.
They thrive in warm water and “eat almost anything,” with a record of attacking humans only surpassed by the great white shark, the magazine said.
There have been two fatal shark attacks in Réunion this year, the BBC reported, and local authorities banned swimming and water sports on almost all of the island’s beaches in 2013.
There were a total of 130 shark attacks worldwide in 2018, the Florida Museum of Natural History said.
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