Survivor drove off shark with a flipper

2009-12-29 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — It will be a long time before he dares to go back in the sea, Peter Fraser (27) said yesterday of the shark attack he survived in southern Mozambique last week.

Fraser, who is from Rustenberg, was speaking on his arrival at O.R. Tambo airport yesterday after he was discharged from hospital in Richards Bay.

He said he survived the attack by a Zambezi shark, in calm water at Ponta d’Ouro, by hitting the creature with a flipper.

“I don’t think I am unlucky that I was attacked so much as lucky to have survived,” he said.

He did not (as reported by Sapa on Sunday) lose any limbs in the attack, but doctors had to close a wound more than 20 cm long on his back. The shark also bit a chunk of flesh from his right shoulder, and bit his right upper and forearm, his chest and his right hand.

“During the attack I felt nothing. It wasn’t sore. Only when I got out of the water and saw the blood did I realise how serious it was,” he said.

The attack lasted only seconds. “I first felt the thing bump my legs, but I couldn’t see anything in the dark water. Only later, when I hit its head away, I realised it was a shark.”

He estimated the shark was about two metres long.

“One always hears what you should do during an attack, but in the heat of the moment, I couldn’t really think of anything. I just wanted to get away.”

Fraser said he doesn’t think the attack could have been prevented. “We weren’t in deep; the water was about shoulder height. It was just a case of, we were in their [the sharks’] world, not them in ours.”

Fraser’s girlfriend, Nicolene Latsky (27), who witnessed the attack, said he had lost a lot of blood by the time he got out of the water.

Her father, Kobus Latsky, loaded Fraser on his bakkie and raced him to a first-aid post. From there, Fraser was airlifted by helicopter to Manguzi at Kosi Bay in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

“They couldn’t treat him there, so he was flown to Empangeni hospital, where they operated for four-and-a-half hours to close the wounds,” she said.

The next day, Fraser was transferred to a hospital in Richards Bay to recover.

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