Elio Canestri, a young surfer widely recognised as one of France's brightest up-and-coming talents, has tragically died following a shark attack this weekend.
The 13-year-old was bitten while surfing off the island of La Réunion, which has become notorious in recent years following a spate of such attacks.
According to reports, the stretch of beach where Canestri was surfing had been closed to swimmers because of the danger of sharks before the incident.
"He had his whole life ahead of him. Rest in peace little dude."
- Jeremy Flores
Jeremy Flores, a fellow Réunion native who competes on the World Tour wrote on Instagram: "ANOTHER shark attack on Reunion Island this morning. 13-year-old Elio was one of our best up and coming surfers.
"Words can't describe how sad and angry I am. So young. He had his whole life ahead of him. Rest in peace little dude."
Witnesses said that Canestri was one of a group of seven surfing about 50 metres from the shore when his limbs and stomach were bitten by the predator which then dragged him out to sea. A rescue boat made it to the teenager pulling him aboard, but he died of his injuries later.
A spokesman from the rescue service explained: "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."
The tragic accident occurred at Cap Homard off the west coast of the island. It takes the total number of attacks in the seas around the Indian Ocean territory to 16 in just four years, seven of which have been fatal.
Our thoughts are with Elio's family and friends and the surfing community of La Réunion.