Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A bodyboarder, identified as 26-year-old former shark spotter Alexandre Naussance, died Tuesday after a shark bit him in the leg off the coast of Reunion Island.
Officials said Naussance ignored warnings not to surf in the northern waters of the French territory in the Indian Ocean. Young people had been in the area for several days despite the warning by local residents of sharks.
"This accident happened even though swimming and other water sports are forbidden in this area," Reunion Island's local government office said in a statement on Tuesday.
Officials said signs warning about the dangers of shark attacks had recently been vandalized.
"The dangers of the site were indicated by signs prohibiting swimming and water activities, but they were sawn off over the weekend," said Marie-Lise Chane, deputy mayor of the Saint-Andre commune.
A police official said Naussance was bit in the femoral artery. The type of shark that attacked had not been determined.
"The thigh wound caused blood to pour out of the man, as those he was bodyboarding with desperately tried to save him," the policeman said.
A helicopter with a team of emergency medical respondents was deployed but Naussance was dead by the time he was pulled from the water onto the beach.