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Shark Attacks in the News

I have had many enquiries about shark attacks, pictures of attacks, and believe it or not whether or not sharks are dangerous. To try and answer this, I have included this page. Most of this material has been 'borrowed' from other web sites, (thank you www.iol.co.za) so I can not vouch for it's accuracy. I have pictures too dreadful to publish that sharks are not only dangerous to humans but terrifyingly lethal.

Monster shark rips teen to death September 12, 2003

A huge great white shark killed a teenage body boarder at a popular surf break off Cape Town's Noordhoek beach on Friday, dragging him under the water in its massive jaws and tossing him into the air.

A group of surfers and body boarders watched in horror as David Bornman, 19, of Newlands was attacked. He was helped to the beach but bled to death within minutes despite receiving cardio-pulmonary resuscitation from a fellow surfer. 'It was the biggest shark I've ever seen in my life' The shark's teeth bit into his body, causing a massive injury from his back down to his thigh.

Shocked surfers Peter Whale and Brent Mills were in the water about 50m offshore at Dunes, a surfing spot near the Kakapo wreck, when they saw the shark strike. Whale said he heard a loud splash even though there were no sets of waves coming through. "I looked across and saw this guy in the shark's mouth. It was the biggest shark I've ever seen in my life. It took him under, then came up and just tossed him and then disappeared." Whale said he shouted "shark!" and they all started paddling in furiously. 'I told him he still had his legs'

Mills said he saw Bornman catch a wave towards the shore. "But the water around him turned red. The whole wave was just blood." He paddled out to help the stricken teenager, who told him he couldn't breathe. "I told him he still had his legs but I could tell the bite was bad. You could see into his body." Whale, who is trained as a rescue diver, gave Bornman CPR for half an hour but he was dead within minutes. Mills said that just before the attack Bornman had caught a really good wave. "I turned to him and said 'nice wave'. How can it go from being so much fun to this?" he asked.

Skymed flight paramedic Andre Jooste said the shark must have been huge. "I've worked in KwaZulu-Natal and seen a lot of bites but this was the largest and most destructive I've ever seen." Jooste said Bornman would have lost his entire blood volume within two minutes. "There is no way he could have survived." He said the shark probably mistook Bornman for a seal. "He was wearing a black wet suit and fins and was on a black boogie board so he must have looked like a seal." SA Lifesaving has now banned bathing between Noordhoek Beach and Scarborough until further notice. This includes popular beaches such as Long Beach at Kommetjie.

Spokesman Nicholas Reyneke said the police helicopter would patrol the False Bay coast and Noordhoek area today and tomorrow. "Alarm bells do need to start ringing especially with the number of sharks we've seen in our waters over the past year," he said. Shark expert Theo Ferreira said great white shark attacks on humans were very rare. Ferreira, the founder and director of the Great White Shark Project, said a six-year study had found that white sharks were not aggressive animals by nature but were inquisitive. Ferreira said this was a sad incident because it often created mass hysteria. He said the shark was only doing what it did naturally. "It's a reality that if you enter their domain you risk an encounter with the animal. This risk gets greater the more further out behind the back water you are," he said. "The shark was obviously attracted to that area because of the activity of fish."


Shark the Loser in Attack on Father-Son Bathers JUL-98

PLETTENBERG BAY, South Africa (AP) A father and son were attacked by a ragged-tooth shark, but the creature wound up the loser when the father grabbed the four-foot-long shark and dragged it onto the beach.

Mark Thomas, 10, had just caught a wave on his surfboard in waist-deep water Monday when the shark sunk its teeth into the boy's right leg, the newspaper Beeld reported today. Clark Thomas grabbed the shark and pulled it off his son but also was bitten in the right leg in the process. "I grabbed the shark in a vise grip, pulled it out of the ocean and threw it onto the beach," the 47-year-old father was quoted as saying. Mark needed 22 stitches and his father 21, news reports said. With the attack happening amid a spate of shark incidents in recent weeks, doctors dissected the fish to see if it had attacked other bathers. No human flesh was found in its stomach, Beeld said. The attack happened in Plettenberg Bay in the Indian Ocean, 280 miles east of Cape Town.

At least six people have been injured in shark attacks off South Africa in the past six weeks. One of the victims died. Sharks apparently mistake some wetsuit-clad surfers for seals or turtles. Others approach the coast to feed on schools of sardines that make migratory runs past the shores. Dive operators also lure sharks into coastal waters by throwing bait into the ocean so paying customers in underwater cages can view the predators.


'I thought the shark had killed him' August 11 2003

A 16-year-old surfer had a close shave when he was attacked by a shark, which also terrified a Durban surfer who was in the water with him at the weekend.
But, undaunted, the plucky teenager returned to the spot where the attack had taken place and surfed his way to the quarter finals of a major junior surfing competition.

Joseph Krone of Mossel Bay and Matthew Kruger from Durban were among 30 surfers preparing for the finals of the Billabong Polar Ice Junior championships at Jeffreys Bay on Friday when the 4m-long shark struck. Kruger, 20, told a Sunday newspaper that he had been in the water close to where Krone was when the shark struck. 'I saw the head and the teeth'
"I saw this huge dorsal fin and tail swishing as it accelerated. Then it took him (Krone) off his board. I saw the head and the teeth. "It pulled him under and he stayed under. I thought he had been killed, so I paddled for the beach, fast," Kruger said. Krone's board was broken in two in the attack and had a 30cm chunk bitten out of it. Attached to his surfboard by the leash, the teenager was pulled under the water by the force of the attack, but popped back up when the leash snapped.

Krone escaped unscathed, despite tears in his wet suit. 'I thought he had been killed, so I paddled for the beach, fast' Krone's coach, Mike Shepherd, said the teenager told him that he had had the fright of his life, and didn't want to speak about the incident.
Shepherd said that Krone was a quiet, resilient young man, not given to emotional outbursts, and did not appear to be upset by the episode. After the attack the contest organizers moved the event 15km down the coast to St Francis Bay, but returned to Jeffreys Bay on Saturday because of better conditions.

"I'm sure I saw a shark's fin, which scared the crap out of me," Burrows said. "The fin was as big as my board, but a perfect triangle and thick. "There was no way it was a whale or a dolphin. It was the biggest thing and I was just freaking out and headed straight in. "I went back out eventually, but couldn't even surf I was so shaken up," Burrows said.


Diver survives shark attack at Cape beach December 25, 2002

A 34-year-old crayfish diver lost a substantial portion of flesh on his right arm on Tuesday after he was attacked by a four-metre-long ragged tooth shark off Scarborough beach on the Cape Peninsula. Bathing in the area has since been banned.

According to Western Province lifesaving spokesman Nic Reyneke, the Cape father of three who lives in Scarborough and snorkels on a regular basis, noticed the shark at about 4.30pm but reportedly "didn't pay too much attention to it". Craig Bovin, who nearly drowned on his swim back to shore, was attacked by the shark after a wave knocked him over, forcing him to stop and clear his snorkel and mask.
"He tried to push the shark away and it appears he somehow got his hand down the shark's throat. He lost a lot of flesh on his right forearm," Reyneke said. 'He somehow got his hand down the shark's throat' He said that following the attack, Bovin came close to drowning on countless occasions because his hands were rendered useless by the creature's mammoth bite. To make matters worse, Bovin was wearing flippers and a weight belt, Reyneke said. But Bovin eventually reached the shore, where he was attended to by medics and subsequently airlifted to the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town.

Bovin suffered severe trauma to both arms but hospital nursing manager Estelle Jordaan said he was in a satisfactory condition and would not lose either limb. Tuesday's shark attack follows a bathing ban that was imposed on some of the False Bay beaches on Sunday when five great white sharks were spotted in the surf. The ban was lifted the following day after a patrol helicopter went out in the morning and found only one shark, about 1,5 metres long, a kilometre offshore. Ironically on Monday Reyneke said: "On a national average, you've got more chance of winning the lottery than being attacked by a shark in our waters."
Asked about this on Tuesday, Reyneke replied: "Sharks are all around, they're there, its their domain, its their territory. "We have banned bathing between Noordhoek and Scarborough with immediate effect until the helicopters tomorrow can do a proper search of the peninsula."


Boy, 14, is second victim in less than a week

GOING to the coast for a relaxing Christmas holiday has been a family tradition since 1973 for Jan and Ingrid van der Merwe of Pretoria. It was a perfect day on Friday at their favourite beach - Kei Mouth, near East London - and their children, Douw, 14, and Este-Marie, 11, were splashing about waist-deep in the surf in front of the Beach Hotel. But yesterday, speaking from his hospital bed, a shaken Douw vowed never to go back into the water. He said just thinking about the creature he felt brushing up against his leg sent shivers down his spine. He said: "I thought it was a rock, but then it began moving. Suddenly it bit me and I punched the water until my hands got cut. I have never been so scared - I couldn't see anything because the water was so dirty." Seconds later he was screaming for help with blood pouring from his right calf - he had become the second shark attack victim along the Eastern Cape coastline in less than a week.

Greg Harrison, 18, from Welkom, was attacked while surfing off the popular King's Beach in Port Elizabeth and needed surgery to repair his leg. At least eight surfers and body boarders have been bitten by sharks on the same coastline since May. One of the most horrific attacks was on champion body boarder Neil Stephenson near Plettenberg Bay in May - his badly mauled right leg had to be amputated. Douw said: "I ran out of the water screaming to my mom for help. My sister and her friend were swimming next to me and they got a terrible fright." He was treated by paramedics at Kei Mouth and then carried to his parents' car on a surfboard so they could take him to hospital. At first, the distraught parents drove to a local clinic but turned away because it was closed. Then they sped off to a nurse's house, but she was not there. Jan van der Merwe said local paramedics had stopped the bleeding so he decided to drive the injured teenager about 60km to a hospital in East London. A spokesman for Medicross Hospital, Cathy Brandt, said Douw was in shock and "very quiet" when he arrived. She said: "The wounds were not serious - they looked worse than they were." After being stabilized, Douw was transferred to St Dominic's Hospital in East London. A relaxed-looking Jan van der Merwe said yesterday the bite marks were "fairly deep", but were mostly flesh wounds. He said his son had been bitten on the upper leg and calf by what was believed to have been a ragged-tooth shark. Jan said: "If all goes well and he responds to antibiotics, Douw will be out this weekend. We've been visiting this area since 1973 and never experienced a shark attack at Kei Mouth." Since his ordeal, Douw has made a rapid recovery and was hobbling around the hospital talking to people yesterday. Douw said: "My friends in Johannesburg and Pretoria have been phoning me to see how I'm doing. I've swum in the sea since I was a small kid and have never been afraid - now I get scared just looking at the water. I keep thinking about sharks. I think I was very lucky to get out of the water so quickly." The family plan to stay on at Kei Mouth over Christmas, but one thing Douw will not be doing for the rest of his holiday at the coast is learning to surf. "I will never go back into the sea again," he said with a grin. But he does hope to recover quickly so he can continue playing his favourite sport, tennis. The curator of the East London aquarium, Willie Maritz, said shark attacks over the festive season were "unusual". He said he thought that a ragged-tooth, Zambezi or tiger shark was responsible for the bite. He said he was 99 percent certain it was not a Great White because they were visual hunters and the water at Kei Mouth had been murky. Port Elizabeth is stepping up beach patrols to ensure its thousands of holiday-makers can be warned to get out of the water if sharks are spotted.


'Placid' cow shark attacks boat September 15, 2003

A cow shark attacked a rubber duck with two fishermen in it at Melkbosstrand yesterday, just two days after a teenager was killed by a great white shark at Noordhoek Beach. Rudolf Bokelmann, 36, and his friend Izak Vermeulen, 26, of Duynefontein got away unharmed. But they said they had got the shock of their lives when a 2m-long cow shark, which is usually very placid, rushed towards them and tried to bite a piece out of their rubber duck.

Speaking after yesterday's attack, Bokelmann said they had gone about 500m offshore to catch a few kob. They dropped their anchors and then their fishing lines. But when they saw that nothing was happening, decided to pull in their bait. As they were pulling in the bait, the cow shark came towards them and lodged its razor-like teeth firmly in the front right-hand side of the boat, where Bokelmann was working. Bokelmann, whose right hand had been operated on earlier in the week, jumped back in fright. Vermeulen came forward and stabbed the back of the shark's head eight times. They grabbed its tail and hauled the shark, which was still alive, on board.

"This is the first time that a cow shark has attacked in all my time on the sea," said Bokelmann. With the help of other rubber duck crew in the area, they managed to get to shore and report the incident at the Melkbosstrand police station. The police gave them permission to kill the shark. Bokelmann said he suspected the shark had been after the bait he was pulling in but that its teeth had got stuck in the rubber duck. "It's completely unnatural for a cow shark to attack a boat like this. "In my experience, I found that all sharks are human friendly - provided you are not in their territory," said Bokelmann, a part-time fisherman with 20 years experience. Vermeulen, who fishes full time and is the owner of the rubber duck, said they would have to patch the front and nose, which would cost about R1 500 to R2 000.


Scuba diver attacked after touching Shark April 17, 1998

MARATHON, Florida (CNN) - A shark bit a teen in waters off the Florida Keys this week and remained clamped to his chest even as the victim was rushed to a hospital.
Kevin Morrison, 16, Rockford, Illinois, was scuba diving with his father near Marathon in the Florida Keys, when he saw a three-foot nurse shark (called a Raggie in South Africa) swimming near him and grabbed its tail.
The shark bit Morrison's chest so tightly he was rushed to Fisherman's Hospital near Marathon with the creature still attached. Doctors were forced to split the sharks' spine to unlock its jaw. The boy was later treated and released.
The Florida Marine Patrol said nurse sharks swim slowly and can appear to be harmless, but they can be dangerous and should be avoided.


The links below will launch very good sites of attack accounts and statistics in a separate window.

Spear Fishing Shark Stories
Shark Attack Statistics
The International Shark Attack File
Shark Books on Amazon.com