Seychelles shark attack: Widow remembers 'awful scream'

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Gemma and Ian RedmondImage source, Other
Image caption,
Gemma Redmond said they thought the waters were free from dangerous animals

The widow of a man killed by a shark while on honeymoon in the Seychelles has described the moment she heard his "awful scream".

Gemma Redmond, 27, said she had first thought her husband, Ian, 30, from Nelson, Lancashire, was sneezing as he was snorkelling off Anse Lazio beach.

"I heard 'Help' and the most awful scream," she said.

She said Mr Redmond had laughed off the dangers of sharks and they had been told the waters were safe.

Speaking about the attack, she said: "I could see the top of his snorkel because he had a bright orange band around it so I could always follow where he was.

"And, all of a sudden, I heard this 'Help' and I thought at first he was sneezing.

"And then I heard it again - I heard 'Help' and the most awful scream.

"I can still hear it when I close my eyes."

She said she had been sitting with their bag on the beach and her husband had been in the water for 20 minutes when he was attacked.

She said they had gone to the Seychelles partly because they had thought the islands were free from dangerous animals.

The primary school teacher said she had asked a receptionist if there were sharks and was told: "No, not in the Seychelles, the Seychelles are very safe waters."

She said: "We didn't really think that sharks would be in the Seychelles at all. It wasn't something we were aware of."

However, Mrs Redmond said she hoped the attack would not stop people from visiting the area and that local people had been "so kind".

She said: "The last thing I would want is for any of these events to affect the Seychelle Island people, their livelihoods and the tourism in the area.

"It's a beautiful area, people must come.

"It's a one-off accident and I know that everybody is doing everything they can to ensure that the islands are safe - the restaurants on the beaches and the places on the beaches and the hotels shouldn't be affected by it."

Mr Redmond, an IT specialist, was killed 10 days after his wedding to Gemma Houghton at St Michael's Church in Dalton, Lancashire, near the bride's family home.

Government officials have issued a ban on swimming in certain areas until the killer shark is captured.

Earlier this month, a 36-year-old French tourist was killed by a shark in the same area.

The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan said some locals feared the attacks would deter visitors.

"One local trader said he didn't understand why there was so much attention on this negative aspect of the Seychelles, when there was so much more beauty to focus on," she said.

"Some people believe that after the first shark attack, more should have been done to make people aware of the dangers lurking in the water."

'Increased pollution'

Briton Andrew Gee, who runs the Maison Soleil guesthouse on the island of Mahe, said there had been very little coverage of the first fatal shark attack in the local media.

He said he had two guests staying with him who had visited Anse Lazio days before it happened. They had told him they had seen a tiger shark while snorkelling in the waters a few metres from the beach.

Mr Gee said he believed that increased pollution in the waters around the islands was attracting more sharks.

"The danger has only come about quite recently and one reason is the large number of yachts that are emptying sewage and waste aboard, which is attracting the sharks," he said.

Authorities are still trying to determine what species of shark killed Mr Redmond, and have enlisted the help of the navy and the coastguard in their efforts to catch it.

The last recorded fatal shark attack in the Seychelles before these two was in 1963.

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