Port St Johns: teen surfer dies after shark attack

2009-03-23 00:00

A teenager has died at Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape after being bitten on the leg by a shark, and concerns have been raised that heightened shark activity in the area may be due to the influx of sewage-laden water from a river.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said the teenager died after being bitten by a shark while surfing off Second Beach, Port St Johns.

Sixteen-year-old Luyolo Mangele was attacked on Saturday by what is believed to be a Zambezi shark.

Luyolo belonged to the Iliza Surf Academy. Michael Gatcke, manager of the academy, said yesterday that Saturday was a perfect day for surfing. He said there were three surfers in the water, including Luyolo. Someone began to scream and a large red spot was seen around Luyolo's surfboard. He made for shore, but lost consciousness in the shallow surf Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

In January 2007, lifesaver Sibulele Masiza was killed in a shark attack, but his body was never found.

District municipal manager Bruce Kannemeyer told The Witness that experts will investigate the possibility that a high level of sewage from the Umzimvubu River, which flows into the bay at Port St Johns, may be responsible for the increased shark activity. He said water samples have been taken for analysis.

The O.R. Tambo District Municipality and Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism have agreed to appoint a team of experts to investigate and report back in two weeks.

In the meantime, the district and local municipalities moved hastily to erect warning flags to prevent further loss of life.

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