British tourist attacked by shark off Caribbean beach 'now able to communicate'

A British tourist seriously injured in a shark attack off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago is "aware of what is happening and can communicate", according to his wife.

Peter Smith, 64, was attacked 10 metres off the shore near the Starfish Hotel in Courland Bay on the north coast of Tobago on Friday morning.

He remains in intensive care at a hospital on the island, having suffered damage to his left arm and leg, puncture wounds to the abdomen, and injuries to his right hand, according to his wife, Jo Smith.

She told the BBC in a statement: "As of 9am local time today (Sunday), Peter is aware of what is happening and is able to communicate a little, although he is still under strong medication."

She also thanked "all those that assisted at the scene, and especially the two friends that remained in the water to battle the shark".

The couple, from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, had been holidaying on the Caribbean island with friends and were due to fly home on the same day the attack took place.

The shark appeared to be a bull shark, around 8-10ft long and 2ft wide, according to the Tobago House of Assembly.

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The attack prompted the government to temporarily close seven beaches and a marine park along the northwestern coast of the Caribbean island.

Orion Jakerov, watersports manager at the Starfish Resort, witnessed the incident and Mr Smith was about waist-deep in the water when the shark attacked.

"The other people in the water were physically trying to fight the shark off while it attacked," he said.

The Foreign Office said it was supporting the family.

Last year, there were 69 unprovoked shark attacks and 22 provoked bites worldwide, along with 14 fatalities, according to the Florida-based International Shark Attack File.