Internal damage in uniaxial continuous alumina fibre-reinforced aluminium is measured by acoustic emission during tensile straining in the fibre direction. Over most of the loading history spatially uncorrelated fibre fragmentation occurs, consistent with dry fibre bundle Weibull statistics. Final fracture is induced by a sudden localization of damage. (c) 2008 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.