British woman attacked by shark in South Atlantic named locally

Ascension Island is a tiny volcanic island in the South Altantic Credit: PA

The British woman who was attacked by a shark while swimming in the South Atlantic has been named locally as Frankie Gonsalves.

She was swimming off the coast of Ascension Island, part of the British territory of St Helena, when the attack happened on Friday.

One witness told The Times her husband punched the shark to scare it away after it bit Ms Gonsalves on the leg.

The victim works for the government of Saint Helena, a government spokeswoman said.

She added she believed the woman had been living on the island with her husband and children.

The victim was treated at a nearby hospital and was said to be "recovering well".

She is due to be flown back to the UK this week.

Following the attack the island government issued a public warning to swimmers.

It read: "A shark incident was reported at 4pm involving a swimmer snorkelling in English Bay.

"Swimming in the area is to be undertaken at your own risk."

Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha are a trio of remote islands between South America and Africa and together form one of Britain's overseas territories.

St Helena may be most well known as the destination Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to in 1815 after his defeat at Waterloo.

Ascension Island proved to be a vital staging post for the British Task Force during the Falklands War.