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).
A shark attacked a 51-year-old woman from California about 20 metres off Makena Landing Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii. The incident happened on Saturday 27 October 2012. The woman was not named in press reports.
According to a report in Maui News the shark was estimated to be between 10 and 12 feet long, but the species was unknown.
The woman suffered non life-threatening injuries, including puncture wounds to her right inner thigh and lacerations to the front and back of her right hand from pushing the shark away.
The newspaper reported she was transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center in stable condition.
Wow. Another shark bite at Myrtle Beach. This makes it 6 in the past couple of weeks. On Tuesday 19 June 2012 a 16-year-old boy (name not reported) was bitten on the foot by a small shark while in waist deep water off Myrtle Beach (near 6th Ave.), South Carolina, USA.
Very little is reported on this except that his friend is quoted as saying ‘he was in pain and he couldn’t put any pressure on his foot’.
On 14 June 2012 four swimmers reported being bitten by shark in separate incidents at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. The bites were reported over a 10-minute span between 72nd Avenue north and 82nd Avenue North. However, at the time of this blog it was still not confirmed if they were in fact shark bites. Photos of teh bites have been sent to experts at the Shark Attack File in Florida for confirmation. However, one of the victims 16-year-old Jordon Garofalo said his doctor was pretty sure it was a shark because of the bite marks.
A lifeguard on duty at the beach is quoted as saying: “Nobody saw them. Even the guys that got bit didn’t see it. They’re definitely shark bites. One guy’s foot was opened up. The other had a full mouth print around his leg.” He didn’t see the other injuries.
Three people were taken by Emergency Medical Services to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and the fourth drove himself.
A shark expert Dan Abel told media it was not likely the same shark was responsible for the 4 bites and reckoned it was probably black tip sharks. He said a black tip shark could have a bite between three and six inches in diameter.