Lancashire Bride Pays Tribute To Husband Killed In Shark Attack
17 August 2011, 15:38
The widow of a Lancashire man killed by a shark in the Seychelles has paid tribute to her 'handsome and caring' husband.
Gemma Redmond said she and her husband Ian were 'having so much fun' on their dream honeymoon in the Indian Ocean archipelago before it turned to disaster yesterday.
In an emotional tribute, she said:
'Myself, our families and our friends are devastated and shocked by what has happened. The loss of Ian has left a gaping hole in our hearts that will never be filled.
'He was always calm and collected, strong and brave, witty and intelligent, handsome and caring, a remarkable individual who will be deeply and sorely missed. We are privileged and proud to have shared our lives with him.'
Mr Redmond, 30, from Lancashire, was savaged by the shark off Anse Lazio beach on Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles.
One onlooker described his widow saying she 'still had hope' for her husband while he lay on the sand with horrific injuries after the attack.
Earlier this month a 36-year-old French tourist was killed by a shark in the same area.
Government officials have issued a ban on swimming in certain areas until the killer fish is captured.
Mrs Redmond said in a statement released by the Foreign Office:
'My husband and my best friend was tragically killed yesterday. I loved him so much and he was a very special husband, a thoughtful son and a devoted brother.
'He worked tirelessly to give us both a wonderful married life and home and I want to thank him for nine years of joy.
'We were having so much fun and we were so excited about our future together.'
It was reported that the parents of Mr Redmond and his wife were travelling to the Seychelles following the attack.
Jeanne Vargiolu, 56, owner of a nearby restaurant, said she went to the beach after hearing ambulance sirens to find a French doctor treating the man and 'a lot of police officers' surrounding him.
She said police told her the man had lost one arm, had a badly damaged leg and holes in his chest and stomach from shark bites.
'I saw his wife talking to about five people - I think one was English - that she still had hope he was still alive,' she said.
'They were trying to help him but they could not get him alive.'
Police spokesman Jean Toussaint said the attack happened shortly before 5pm local time while Mr Redmond was swimming.
'We discovered that the British citizen was badly injured on the hips and the arms. He was assisted medically but unfortunately he could not make it.
'We haven't got the autopsy report yet but he definitely lost a lot of blood.'
He said Mr Redmond lost an arm in the attack and was taken to hospital, but could not be saved.
'He had no chance of surviving because of the nature of the injuries.'
Mr Toussaint confirmed that Mr Redmond and his wife were in the second week of their honeymoon and had been due to fly home on Sunday.
He said 'a big effort' was being made to catch the shark.
'We had this first incident two weeks ago and for the local community it was a freak incident because it had never been reported before around the islands. It took everybody by surprise,' he said.
Until this month the last recorded fatal shark attack in the Seychelles was in 1963.
Ms Vargiolu said no-one swam in the sea after yesterday's tragedy as they were 'in shock'.
Her family have lived on the beach for 36 years and she said the two shark attacks this month were the first she had seen.
'It must be the same shark,' she said.
Seychelles minister for home affairs and environment Joel Morgan held an emergency meeting in the capital, Victoria.
Praslin is the location of the Vallee de Mai Unesco World Heritage Site, where the rare coco-de-mer tree grows.
It lies 27,9 miles (45km) north of Mahe, the largest island in the archipelago, and measures 6.2 miles (10km) by 2.3 miles (3.7km), according to the official tourism website for the Seychelles.
The Seychelles is one of the most popular exotic destinations for British honeymooners, lying in the Indian Ocean between the Tropic of Capricorn and the equator.
It has warm weather, white sand beaches and the opportunity for seclusion, luxury and romance.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon on North Island, four years after they took a week-long break on the island of Desroches.