Pictured: British civil servant, 44, ‘who was eaten by a shark’ off holiday isle Réunion while snorkelling in ‘safe’ lagoon just 6ft deep during trip to celebrate wife’s 40th birthday

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A British tourist believed to have been eaten by a shark had been swimming in what was deemed a ‘safe’ lagoon, it emerged yesterday.The man, named locally as Richard Martyn Turner, was snorkeling by himself in an area known to have recent sharks sightings, according to the Scottish Sun. The 44-year-old’s death was confirmed by judicial sources days after his severed hand and forearm were found in the stomach of a predator.

His wife, named by sources as Verity Turner, identified his remains through his wedding ring.The civil servant, who was known as Martyn, and events company worker Verity, were originally from northwest England but now live in Edinburgh. The couple were believed to be on a trip to mark her 40th birthday. Despite five sharks being killed near off the coast nearby where he went missing, the lagoon was described by locals as ‘safe’ for swimmers.The Scot has yet to be officially named, but local sources said the couple were at the five star resort of Lux Réunion hotel in Sain

His wife, named by sources as Verity Turner, identified his remains through his wedding ring.The civil servant, who was known as Martyn, and events company worker Verity, were originally from northwest England but now live in Edinburgh. The couple were believed to be on a trip to mark her 40th birthday. 

Despite five sharks being killed near off the coast nearby where he went missing, the lagoon was described by locals as ‘safe’ for swimmers.The Scot has yet to be officially named, but local sources said the couple were at the five star resort of Lux Réunion hotel in Saint-Gilles for Mrs Turner’s 40th birthday. The Foreign Office declined to comment yesterday

He vanished on Saturday while snorkelling in Hermitage Lagoon, off the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion – a French overseas territory.A police helicopter was called in to the search for the missing man, but he could not be found by rescue teams.The lagoon is deemed safe for swimmers thanks to its calm, shallow waters of less than 6ft and its dense coral reef, which serves as a barrier that helps keep sharks out.

It is located off Hermitage Beach, close to the town of Saint-Paul – one of the most popular tourist attractions on Reunion, which is 500 miles east of Madagascar.A legal source on Reunion said: ‘The man undoubtedly thought he was safe. He went off to snorkel around the Hermitage coral reef, where the water is warm and very shallow. 

‘It may be that waves pushed the man beyond the reef into open sea, or that the shark swam into the lagoon. What is now certain is that he is dead.’It remained unclear last night whether the man was attacked by the tiger shark or whether he drowned and the fish was attracted to his floating body.One source on the island claimed the man’s hand and forearm were found inside the stomach of one of the captured tiger sharks – which were between nine and 13ft long.

Tiger sharks are the second most dangerous shark to humans after the Great White.Classed as a near-threatened species, an adult tiger shark is 10-14ft long, can weigh up to 1,400lb and will live for 15 years or more.A spokesman for the local search and rescue crew – the Centre Regional Operationnel de Surveillance et de Sauvetage (Cross) – said it might not be possible to determine cause of death without a body, but blood and DNA tests would be carried out on the hand. 

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