Zoe Steyn, a teenager, was surfing Nahoon Reef, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, on Friday afternoon, 7 July 2017, when a 2.5m-3m Great White shark bit into her board and pulled it from under her. She was not injured.
According to a report in the Daily Dispatch, adaptive surfing champ JP Veaudry, who was in the water at the time ‘swam towards the screaming teen after the shark pulled the board out from beneath her’. He paddled with her to the surfer’s walkway across the reef and helped her ashore.
“My first thought was to get out of there, but I couldn’t just leave her. She said she didn’t know if she’d been bitten. I paddled with her to the slipway and when we got out she said it hadn’t bitten her. But I saw it bit her board in exactly the place where her arm could have been.”
Tristan Wantenaar, 33, who was bodyboarding a few metres in front of Zoe at the time of the attack said he heard her scream and turned around to see the large dorsal fin of the shark thrashing.
“It grabbed her board and thrashed it from side to side. She was trying to get back on her board to get out of the water.”
Zoe was uninjured in the incident.
The shark attack sparked a debate on the Zigzag surf mag forum about whether it was an encounter or an attack.
Zoë is my daughter. She is as passionate about the environment as she is about surfing. The declining shark population is of great concern to her! She will be back in the water tomorrow for our local trials. We are very grateful that her encounter/ attack (call it what you will), left her unscathed. Also, all you guys who rushed to her aid and paddled back to shore with her are just awesome! That’s the spirit we try and instill in our children, and testimony to the camaraderie in the surfing community!! We are truly grateful!!!
A 14-year-old boy (name withheld in local media because of his age) sustained minor lacerations to his right calf after he was bitten by a shark while he was surfing with two others at The Waves surf spot on Keurbooms beach, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The incident took place around 5pm on Saturday 29 April 2017.
Shark researchers suspect that it was a 2-metre great white shark, going by the size of the bite marks.
He was treated by NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) medics and by paramedics on the scene for lacerations to his right calf before being transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition.
According to media reports, the teenager was surfing with two other surfers. At the take-off zone he turned to catch a wave when he saw a fin approaching him; he felt a bump and he felt a bite on his right calf.
He caught a wave to the beach where he was met by his father, who had witnessed the incident, and bystanders who aided and called paramedics.
There had been several sightings of sharks in the bay the day before, prompting the NSRI to issue a warning to surfers and swimmers.
“The increase in shark inshore presence at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals. Sharks are aggregating in this area at this time, as they have done in previous years, to take advantage of naturally occurring prey like seals and fish close inshore,” the NSRI said in a statement.
Burgert van der Westhuizen, 74, was killed by a shark while swimming off The Point – the lower section of the long world famous surfing point – at Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was as an experienced open-water swimmer who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffrey’s Bay, according to press reports.
An eyewitness who paddled out in his 5-metre ski to try to retrieve the body said the shark was longer than his ski and kept returning to take bites from the remaining torso. His legs had been severed. He was unable to retrieve the body as the shark eventually took the remains and dived with it.
The sea rescue service said they later found the remains of the body.
The eyewitness said he had just paddled past him when he saw “the shark come and hit him out the water. Right out the water.”
However, this is not clear as further into his account he says someone on the beach told him there had been a shark attack, when he says he paddled out to where the body was and the shark was circling it and taking bites. He then wanted to try lift the torso onto his ski, but the shark grabbed it and dived, which is when he saw the size of the shark. “It was at least five meters. My ski is 5 meters and it was longer than my ski. I thought ‘no this is not good’ and paddled in.”
You can see a video of his witness account here (interspersed with Afrikaans language news commentary).
Liya Sibili, 20, was killed by a shark while swimming at Second Beach, Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The incident took place on Christmas Day 25 December 2012.
The beach was crowded with holidaymakers for the Christmas vacation. A witness on the beach said he saw the shark swim among the bathers.
“People were trying to get out the water after the lifeguards spotted
something in the water. I saw the tail of something really big grab the boy, the water started boiling and later it went red,” he was quoted as saying.
According to press reports people refused to listen to lifeguards who asked them not to enter the water after the attack. They went back in regardless – while lifeguards continued to search for the body. It was not recovered.
Torugbene-Ere Aboh, 38, was bitten on the leg by a shark while bathing in the Forcados River in Oboro Community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria.
Details are a bit sketchy, but she is quoted as saying: “Shortly after I started bathing, I felt a sharp cut on my right leg and I screamed for help. The screaming drew the attention of my brethren who were also in the river and they came to my rescue.
“I was immediately taken to a nearby patent medicine shop, where I was given 12 stitches before I was later taken by my husband, to a private clinic at Bomadi, for proper medical treatment.”