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.
Second Beach is now notorious for fatal shark attacks. There have been seven deadly attacks in the past 7 years. The two previous fatal shark attacks took place on 15 January 2012 (SharkAttackMonitor report) and 15 January 2011 (SharkAttackMonitor report).
There was no report of what type of shark it was and no other details were reported.
The shark first bit Struwig on the right leg and foot and then paused before biting him on the chest and shoulder and dragging him underwater to the sand bottom, thrashing as it swam down. The surfers reckon he was underwater for 20-25 seconds.
Denver Struwig, 27 suffered lacerations to his upper left arm and right leg and foot from a shark attack while surfing with two friends at Chintsa East, near East London in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The attack was reportedly by a 3-metre bull shark, locally known as Zambezi sharks. The incident happened around 11am on Friday 22 July 2011.
The attack was witnessed by a two other surfers in the water, one just 5 metres away (who had an electrical shark repellent ‘shark pod’ attached to his board). The shark first bit Struwig on the right leg and foot and then paused before biting him on the chest and shoulder and dragging him underwater to the sand bottom, thrashing as it swam down. The surfers reckon he was underwater for 20-25 seconds. They say they thought that that was the end of Struwig, but then the shark let him go and swam off.
Struwig floated to the surface and the other two surfers paddled over, put him on his board and the three of them made their way back to the beach.
The surfer with the shark pod reckons it was most likely this device that made the shark swim off.
Struwig’s family on the beach, who had witnessed the attack, emergency rescue services. They staunched Struwig’s bleeding wounds with towels while they waited for paramedics.
According to TheBombSurf report Struwig received a bad wound on his right shin, a deep laceration on his inner thigh which narrowly missed the femoral artery. He had a laceration and row of puncture wounds on his abdomen just below the ribs and a laceration on his left shoulder just above his shoulder blade.
He was taken to St Dominic’s Hospital, East London and was expected to make a full recovery.