Shark attacks diver off Brazilian island paradise

Fernando de Noronha is a pristine national park famous for its turquoise water and rich marine life (AFP Photo/Evaristo Sa)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - A shark ripped off a Brazilian diver's forearm as he swam off the tropical archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, the first such attack to hit the UNESCO world heritage site, authorities said Tuesday.

The 33-year-old scuba enthusiast was vacationing in the protected marine reserve off Brazil's northeastern coast when the shark attacked him Monday during a diving excursion gone horribly wrong.

He will undergo surgery Tuesday at a hospital in Recife, on the mainland, and is currently in stable condition, the hospital said.

It was the first shark attack ever recorded in Fernando de Noronha, a pristine national park famous for its turquoise water and rich marine life.

Authorities have closed the beach where the attack occurred, on the archipelago's southeastern coast.

A marine biologist and a shark expert were authorized to carry out a dive to try to establish which species of shark attacked the man, according to news portal G1.

Pernambuco state, which the archipelago belongs to, has seen 60 shark attacks since 1992, including 24 deadly ones, according to Brazil's Shark Attack Monitoring Center.

Hammerhead sharks were the species that attacked most frequently.