Video: Shark kills newlywed during dream honeymoon

  1. Transcript of: Shark kills newlywed during dream honeymoon

    SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, co-host: But we begin this half-hour with a deadly shark attack in the Seychelles . A honeymooner was killed as his bride watched in horror from shore. This is the second fatal attack there in two weeks. NBC 's Stephanie Gosk is on the island and joins us now by phone. Stephanie , good morning.

    STEPHANIE GOSK reporting: Good morning, Savannah . Well, the Seychelles is a stunning place. It's made up of about 115 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean . It's basically your ultimate island getaway, exclusive, difficult to get to. For many people that come here, it's really their dream vacation. There hasn't been a fatal shark attack here in more than 40 years. Then in the last two weeks, two tourists have been killed and the hunt for a killer shark is on. Ian Redmond , 30 years old, was on his honeymoon. He and his girlfriend of nine years had just gotten married. Far from their cloudy and cold home in northern England , they were in paradise. His wife, Gemma , was on the beach sunbathing. Ian was snorkeling just off shore when the shark attacked.

    Mr. ALAIN St. ANGE: Around 3:34, she heard the scream as everybody else did. That's when he screamed for help.

    GOSK: Witnesses say people on the beach dragged him to dry land, but couldn't save him. The shark bit off his arm, took a large chunk out of his leg and left multiple wounds in his stomach and chest.

    Mr. RICHARD ANDRE: Looking at the severity of the cuts, of the wound, you know, it was clear to me that he had no chance whatsoever of surviving, really.

    GOSK: The shocking death would be unbelievable if something similar hadn't happened just two weeks ago. A French tourist snorkeling off the same beach was also attacked and killed by a shark . Experts suspect it may have been the same bull or tiger shark responsible for both fatal attacks.

    Mr. LINDSAY HOLLOWAY (Shark Expert): It's quite likely it is the same shark because there have been cases of sharks that are known as sort of rogue sharks that stay in a particular area. They're opportunistic, they stay in a particular area while the feeding is good, and then when the food supply runs out, they move on.

    GOSK: It's unknown if Ian or Gemma knew there had been a recent attack. Island officials said there had been some warnings to make tourists aware. But it was an incident so rare there was little concern that it would happen again. Now after a second death, the beaches are closed, diving trips are postponed and officials are trying to find the shark . There is now terror in a place known for its beauty. Chosen by Prince William and Princess Catherine for their tropical honeymoon in May, they stayed about 30 miles away from where the shark attacks took place. For a new wife, now newly made a widow, there is unimaginable grief. In a statement, Gemma wrote, her husband was brave and her best friend. "We were having so much fun and we were so excited about our future together. I want to thank him for nine years of joy." Gemma and Ian were supposed to leave on Sunday. Instead, Gemma 's parents and Ian 's parents have flown here to help her deal with this tragedy and arrange to have her husband's body flown home. Savannah :

    GUTHRIE: All right. Stephanie Gosk , thank you. Andy Dehart is the Discovery Channel 's shark adviser. Andy , good morning.

    Mr. ANDY DEHART (Discovery Channel Shark Advisor): Good morning.

    GUTHRIE: This story brought a concept to my attention that I had never heard before, this theory that this is a rogue shark . This is the idea that certain sharks have developed a taste for humans?

    Mr. DEHART: Well, certainly is a very tragic case and being a shark biologist, I still feel for the family. But the likelihood of shark attack is very rare. But there is this thought that some sharks might develop either a taste or understanding that humans might be easier to hunt. And most shark experts will kind of dismiss the idea that this would be a rogue shark looking for humans.

    GUTHRIE: Yeah, because by and large, sharks do not want to eat humans, that's not what they prey on.

    Mr. DEHART: That's right . There's over 500 species of sharks and not a single shark species has humans as part of its regular diet. When these attacks do happen, we believe it's an accident, where different cues are factored in and they unfortunately sometimes bite humans.

    GUTHRIE: There's a hunt now in the Seychelles for this shark . I mean, are you even convinced that this is the work of a single shark , even though it obviously -- these two incidents happened in proximity to one another?

    Mr. DEHART: I would find it highly unlikely that it would be the same shark , after two separate weeks. But it is possible. We know that tiger sharks and bull sharks do come into this area from time to time . They're probably the likely culprits in this case. We know that Ian , unfortunately, sustained a lot of serious damage from the bite and that kind of leads to one of the bigger shark species like a tiger or a bull.

    GUTHRIE: They're looking for this shark now. I mean, how difficult a task is that? The ocean is huge. Sharks are fast, they can cover a ton of terrain.

    Mr. DEHART: Sharks do move quite a bit but they can stay in one certain area if there's a lot of food present, food being their normal prey items like sea turtles or fish. So it is possible the shark 's in the area and there are methods to get the sharks out, by fishing with rod and reel or by long lining. Hopefully, the country will not use nets, nets are very destructive to not only the other sharks in the area but other marine species.

    GUTHRIE: Were you surprised to hear of these fatal shark attacks in this particular area in the Seychelles ?

    Mr. DEHART: Certainly this area is not known for shark aggression, aggressive shark species . This area is most well-known for whale sharks which are very large, planktonic sharks , and they're beautiful to swim with, and in most cases there hasn't been a lot of reports of dangerous sharks in this area.

    GUTHRIE: You got any theories about why this may have happened?

    Mr. DEHART: We never know. I mean, sharks statistics are fun to look at. We know that there's less than 100 attacks per year worldwide, of those only about five or six are fatal every year. But it's hard to know from year to year what's bringing sharks close to shore.

    GUTHRIE: All right. Andy Dehart with some good perspective this morning. Thank you.

    Mr. DEHART: Thank you.

msnbc.com
updated 8/18/2011 8:35:03 AM ET 2011-08-18T12:35:03

A shark attack in the Seychelles left a British honeymooner dead and the island nation shaken as family members and local officials coped with the second deadly attack this month.

The shark struck on Tuesday while Ian Redmond, 30, snorkeled 20 yards from the shore at around 4:30 p.m. local time, witnesses said.

A dingy brought the wounded man ashore alive, but emergency personnel could not save him as bystanders tried to hold back his wife of two weeks, Gemma Houghton, 27, The Guardian reported.

Redmond reportedly suffered bites on his legs and chest and lost an arm in the attack.

Beachside restaurant owner Jeanne Vargiolu witnessed the rescue efforts.

“I saw his wife talking to about five people — I think one was English — that she still had hope he was still alive,” she told the Guardian. “They were trying to help him but they could not.”

In a tribute to her husband released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Houghton wrote: "The loss of Ian has left a gaping hole in our hearts that will never be filled."

The couple were married on Aug. 6.

Earlier this month, a French tourist, Nicolas François Virolle, 36, bled to death after a shark attack in the same area, leading to speculation that one animal may be responsible for both incidents, The Telegraph reported.

Seychelles’ officials rushed to allay fears about the unprecedented second fatal attack in less than a month by calling the animal “foreign.”

“The Seychelles is really innocent in this drama,” the country’s tourism board director Alain St Ange told BBC News. “It is a foreign shark... it is a rogue shark that has caused a freak accident.”

Experts from South Africa were en route to assist the search for the killer shark in wake of the tragedy, which threatens one of the Seychelles’ most important industries, tourism. According to The CIA World Factbook, about 30 percent of the archipelago nation’s workforce is employed in tourism.

Minister of home affairs and environment Joel Morgan has in the past defended the island’s safety, bristling at a Britain’s Independent newspaper’s description of the Seychelles as a "pirate paradise."

Prior to August, there had not been a reported shark-related fatality in the Seychelles, famous for its idyllic beaches and pristine waters, since 1963, the BBC reported.

The Seychelles grabbed headlines when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned on the archipelago off the coast of East Africa in May.

Redmond’s death occurred on the same day ministers held a meeting to address the impact of the prior shark attack.

As the shark hunt continues, authorities temporarily banned entering the water off Anse Lazio, the beach on the Island of Praslin where the attacks occurred.

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