Shark attack at Fish Hoek beach

2011-09-28 12:50

Cape Town - A man is in a critical condition after being bitten by a shark while swimming at Fish Hoek beach, the NSRI said on Wednesday.

"The NSRI and emergency officials are currently attending to him," said Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Institute.

He added that officials have asked the public to steer clear of the scene, and have urged people to stay out of the sea in the entire False Bay area.

Lambinon said the man was apparently fairly far out to sea when he was attacked. He could not yet say what type of shark attacked the man.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos

  • Jauers - 2011-09-28 13:02

    Oh well, when swimming in warm water, one should know what the odds are...

      Felix - 2011-09-28 13:10

      Warm? Only compared to Camps Bay.

      Curveball - 2011-09-28 13:13

      There is nothing warm about the water in Fish Hoek you plonker.

      Inky1980 - 2011-09-28 13:14

      The water is under 20 degrees there, it's far from warm.

      Luan - 2011-09-28 13:20

      Warm... hahaha

      Fedup - 2011-09-28 13:25

      Clearly you don't know Cape Town, don't comment if you don't know the area your just going to make an idiot of yourself. And by the way, the water is bloody freezing there.

      nic - 2011-09-28 13:27

      LOL...warm??? you must be from Norway or something dude....

      Tokkel Loshi - 2011-09-28 13:38

      He wasnt at wild waters ...

      spcwzrd - 2011-09-28 13:42

      What does warm water have to do with it...Sharks are found in all the seas, no matter what how warm or cold.

      trishen.moodley - 2011-09-28 13:45

      @FedUp - Don't say the same thing that everyone before has said, you're just going to make an idiot of yourself.

      jen - 2011-09-28 15:17

      Warm water has nothing to do with it. If you look at the statistics: more people get killed by cows and bread toasters :)

  • Nicholas Krul - 2011-09-28 13:03

    If you want to swim, use a pool! I hope the swimmer makes a speedy recovery. Does anyone in their right mind go running in the Kruger Park? The shark was just doing what instinct tells it to do, and investigated the guy by biting....the shark didn't want to eat the swimmer or it would have.

      MR. Pretorius - 2011-09-28 13:27

      100's of people run through the kruger park to get out of Mozambique...

      Vivian Dart - 2011-09-28 13:30

      The most intelligent and logical response I've seen so far. Gonna quote you on Twitter if you don't mind :)

      Harvey - 2011-09-28 13:30

      By that logic Nicholas, don't go on a golf course - you could get struck by lightning. Don’t live in Gauteng - you could get shot. Don't smoke you could get cancer. Don't eat pork - you could get parasites. Don't go cycling - you could get hit by a car. Don't fly, planes crash. Don’t have sex - you could catch something nasty. (with or without) In my opinion - these things happen, but they are rare. Don't stop doing things you love out of fear. PS - recent studies indicate most people bitten by sharks had urinated a few minutes prior to the attack. Apparently there are trace amounts of blood in urine which could trigger an attack.

      Dan - 2011-09-28 13:36

      @ @ Mr. Pretorius. That is why some get snatched by the Lions, other by the crocodile, others by the game rangers, others by the soldier and others by the police. Your point is what again?

      DW - 2011-09-28 13:38

      Harvey, the story of trace amounts of blood attracting sharks is a myth. I know many women who scuba dive and swim whilst menstruating and they are not attacked by sharks. Sharks can detect trace amounts of blood in water, but this will not trigger an attack. Shark "attacks" are most likely curiosity or mistaken identity. We are not part of their food chain. I have done numerous dives with various shark species and, although not totally risk free, there has not been one shark attack. Earlier this year a young diver was bitten by a shark but he was in the middle of a bait ball on the sardine run and probably just got in the way of the shark going for food. Read what Nicholas said.

      Ian Thomas - 2011-09-28 13:41

      Nicholas I don't fault your arguement in any respect except one.... There is an organised half marathon inside the Kruger National Park every year! You're right, just be careful what you relate it to!

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-28 13:44

      @Nicholas - and definitely, DEFINITELY, do not have toast for breakfast Your chances of dying, just from the toaster, is 100 times greater. Just imagine how dangerous your house is.

      Shistirrer - 2011-09-28 13:51

      Nicholas is 100% correct. Only in rare cases are people bitten by sharks that intend to eat them, and then the sharks usually take a sizable chunk out of them. In all the other so-called shark "attacks" it's a case of curiosity by the shark, who only have their mouths to investigate with. The person on the receiving end gets a fright and struggles to get away, and cuts themself on the shark's teeth. A great white can exert pressure of 3 metric tons per square centimeter with it's jaws, so if a person does not lose a limb in the so-called "attack", but only suffers cuts and lacerations, there was no real intention by the shark to bite.

      Harvey - 2011-09-28 14:40

      DW. While I agree that humans are not part of a sharks food chain, their curious 'investigations' are just as fatal as an attack with intent in most cases. The fact that you have gone diving with girls during their period is anecdotal and doesn't prove anything. Spear-fishermen know all about blood and the effect it has on the man in the grey suit.

      Oopkopdenker - 2011-09-28 14:45

      If you go running through the Kruger Park past a hungry lion it will bite you. If you swim from Bloubergstrand to Robben Island and passes a hungry great whiteit will more than likely not even attempt a nibble. Except of course if you try your best to look like a seal, but even then the human electric field will run amok with the sharks ampullae and it will likely not attack. I see a big difference...

      legalize_zol - 2011-09-28 15:59

      You've got more chance of being hit by a car or struck by lightning than you have of being attacked by a shark! Let's get a little perspective here please. If anyone has anything to fear surely it should be the shark! They get killed in their hundreds of thousands every year, especially by the Chinese, for shark fin soup. They don't even utilize the whole shark FFS. Simply cut off their fins and throw them overboard so they can't swim and end up drowning. It's pretty barbaric. Sharks, like so many other species around the world, are now dependent on us for their survival.

  • Inky1980 - 2011-09-28 13:04

    This was bound to happen soon, I follow Sharkspotters on Twitter and they sweet shark sightings there daily. All the best to you bru. Hope you're okay...

      Inky1980 - 2011-09-28 13:10

      *tweet They close the beach there almost on a daily basis. This won't be the last attack this season.

  • EmptyCan - 2011-09-28 13:07

    Don't blame the shark!! It's his domain. Hope you make a speedy recovery.

  • Vaunski - 2011-09-28 13:08

    I remember an old lady suffering the same fate a few years ago while doing a bout of backstroke. My thoughts go out to this bloke and his family.

  • Gary - 2011-09-28 13:10

    natural selection.........I don't go in the sea and sharks know to stay the hell out of my pool...

  • braddo.ct - 2011-09-28 13:14

    @Echo. Yes, there are systems, but this happened during a power failure remember. It must be really silly to swim out beyond the breakers when the shark siren has gone twice already this morning, and numerous times over the weekend.

  • ShakaN - 2011-09-28 13:14

    tell the victim that he has more chance of being hit by a bus or some other unrealistic statistic. The truth of the matter is when you enter the sharks world you are fair game.

  • Frikkie - 2011-09-28 13:17

    I just checked on beachwatch and saw the NSRI still on the beach.

  • pierre - 2011-09-28 13:24


      Playnice - 2011-09-28 13:36

      It's safer with a cage. . .

      spcwzrd - 2011-09-28 13:45

      What does cage diving, which actually doesn't take place near Cape Town or Fish Hoek, have to do with anything ????

      pierre - 2011-09-28 14:32

      well sharks get more comfortable around humans since a great deal of them get fed and chummed up around the cages, so an animal which use to be very very afraid of anything big in the water which is not immediate pray is now "interesting" and could lead to a "potential food source" and hence leads to closer inspection ...

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-28 14:37

      It's been well proved that the chumming does not attract sharks. They are apex predators, they hunt in one of the most prey rich areas in the world, seals and fish everywhere. 10:1 the oke was wearing at least a 1/2 wetsuit, looked like a seal. Feel sorry for the oke but there it is. Fish Hoek has the biggest Surf Lifesaving clubs in SA, with 100's of kids in the water every Sunday - no worries, never an attack. As harsh as it was for the oke bitten (it was NOT an attack - if it was they might have found his Speedo if lucky), it was just bad luck.

  • nomvete - 2011-09-28 13:25

    Wishing the Folk a speedy recovery..

  • Inky1980 - 2011-09-28 13:29

    Ryan charges pipe in PE like a hellman on crack. Cowabunga!

  • Nate1 - 2011-09-28 13:29

    SOS and scientists do not want to admit that there are too many sharks now. As well as many more people using the sea. There used to be shark hunters in False Bay (operators from Gordons Bay and one from Simons Town) BUT since the Great White is now endangered - this is now illegal. Great Whites have always being around - dah, but there is no threat to them....

      Thermophage - 2011-09-30 12:22

      baka baka baka! Then you can stay out of the sea then and I don't have to swim in your diluted pee :P

  • Martin - 2011-09-28 13:31

    If you want to swim in waters that have the most powerful predatory fish in the world then for goodness sake wear a shark repellent! Sure its R5000, but I would gladly pay that than loose a limb or my life.

  • Dan - 2011-09-28 13:32

    Ahhhh, let me guess? Let's try a Great White!!! Maybe one of the pissed off sharks who missed chum feeding.

  • Crispy_Duck - 2011-09-28 13:33

    It's a perfect day for a swim....quick recovery to the injured guy.

  • GrahamB - 2011-09-28 13:33

    More shark attacks in the past 2 years than there were in the previous 100 years. Shove the science and any other reasoning, the bottom line is that shark cage diving is the major cause of shark attacks. A seasoned fisherman explained to me that in the past (prior to shark cage diving) seeing a great white shark was a very scarce occurence..these days the sharks swim to the boats and literally wait for the sharks are linking human activity in the water with food. Hence now when they hear a splash and detect movement in the water they are thinking 'yum sups up' shark cage diving does nothing to protect or enhance anything in the sea. It's a tourist money making scourge that needs to be stopped.

      spcwzrd - 2011-09-28 13:40

      There have been studies that show that cage diving, and the associated chumming has nothing to do with the attacks.. the sharks don't link swimmers with boats and cages etc.... What they have found is that more people are going into the sea then before...and this is the primary reason for the increase.

      DW - 2011-09-28 14:02

      Graham, whilst I dont support cage diving, I doubt that this is the cause of the attacks. These sharks were endangered and have been a protected species for 20 odd years now. Their numbers have had a chance to recover and they are also now able to grow to maturity instead of being slaughtered. There are simply more sharks around and yes, then they take a nibble or two to see what we are (Unfortunately a nibble from a large shark will tend to have the consequences of this nature). We share this planet with other animals and should treat them with respect in their territory. A shark warning was out and the swimmer should not have been in the water.

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-28 14:41

      Sharks eat seals and large fish. The puny amount of food they get from chumming is completely insignificant. Your bottom line is scientifically flawed, sorry. DW is completely right. Don't speak to "seasoned fisherment" speak to people like Geremy Cliff from the Natal Sharks Board. He knows, your mate the fisherman is guessing and is going on emotion.

      Oopkopdenker - 2011-09-28 14:56

      @spcwzrd. And there are people that claim that there are scientific studies that exonerates shark cage diving and chumming from contributing to an increase in shark attacks. Yet, none of those studies are ever shared and the few that exists usually lack partiality. You're of course welcome to explain how on earth you'll do such a piece of research...

      GrahamB - 2011-09-28 15:15

      In this instance the science has it wrong. This same science is the excuse that shark cage diving operations use as a benchmark. The fisherman/en I was referring to have been fishing the cape waters for generations. DW is also correct in that shark numbers have grown quite a bit. The fact remains that there have been more attacks in the past 2 years than in the previous 100 years..why ?

  • Bill - 2011-09-28 13:36

    I have studied sharks for many years and it is an absolute fact that a shark will only bite you if you are WET.... So stay dry.

  • cavin.bowerman - 2011-09-28 13:36

    Hey bright Port st johns they eat blacks

      Fedup - 2011-09-28 13:44

      News 24 has deleted my comment to Bright, but wasn't there a black life guard killed by a shark in Richards Bay earlier this year?

  • Snoopy88 - 2011-09-28 13:40

    I hope he makes it. Jeepers you have to be nuts to swim anywhere in the bay. If people knew the size of the bastards out there... I'm an ex-Durbanite living in Cape town and i will NEVER swim anywhere where there are no shark nets (as bad as they are for the ocean life, when last did you hear of an attack off a beach that has nets?)

  • Inky1980 - 2011-09-28 13:41

    "The attack, which according to the NSRI is a suspected great white attack, resulted in a partially amputated right leg below the knee, and a partially amputated left foot. The victim is in a critical condition, according to Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Institute. The shark spotters twitter account indicated the two sharks had been spotted at Fish Hoek over the last four days. The beach has been opened and closed several times, including the 25th, the 26th, yesterday and again four hours ago this morning (Wednesay 28 September 09h30)." -

  • Farab - 2011-09-28 13:42

    @Bright ... What a twonk you are. Maybe you should stop buying those RipCurl t-shirts, hey!

  • Bianca - 2011-09-28 13:46

    The water is ice cold Jauers - that is why I never enter the water, even my toes want to fall off from cold when I walk barefeet on the beach. It was terrible. Over the weekend we saw a 8ft or bigger Shark and it was not even 100m from where I was standing. One lady walking pass us said the sirens are stuck ... but we saw the SHARK! It was Saturday. On Sunday we saw the Shark again and was so amazed by the Shark and when we got to the Beach this morning this has happened ... it was horrific and nothing about it is funny. Still emotional... and NO ONE IN MY FAMILY WILL SWIM IN THE WATER OF FISH HOEK. Fish Hoek is such a beautiful place, but also so cruel .... more than one way so terrible cruel ... but the sea belongs to the animals, fish inside and I don't think the Shark Spotters are to blame, they do a pretty amazing job...! May God be with the elderly guy and his family during this time.

  • ArtistGirl - 2011-09-28 13:47

    I've lived and swum here (Fish Hoek) for over fifty years. It's only recently +- last 10 years that people started being attacked (3 attacks). We used to swim daily and in really deep water without even having to think about sharks. So something has changed and it's got nothing to do with the number of people swimming. Today he was probably the only person in the sea. (I know this because I look over the beach from my house) I believe it may be something to do with the end of culling/Global warming and/or shark diving. I don't believe the scientists are being honest with their studies.

  • David - 2011-09-28 13:50

    It is on circumstances that attacks happen! The right conditions that sharks hunt in are dirty turbulent water (the water temp has nothing to do with it). They hunt on silhouettes and use the dirty water as camouflage. They attack the shadow thinking it is their normal prey and when the prey tastes and reacts differently they leave it, think about it if your leg is badly injured you can't escape the shark it could finish the victim any time, yet most people survive, unless they bleed out! The sharks have also been protected for quite some time now, so I think their population has exploded under very favourable conditions (plenty seals in our waters)! Well thats my take.

      Barry M - 2011-09-28 14:31

      Quire right - I'd ban the ban on killing sharks - they have outlived their time on this planet - they should have died out 65,000,000 years ago along with the rest of the dinosaurs

  • blood blondes - 2011-09-28 13:53

    the guy who was swimming knew the risk he was taking, and if he didn't now he definitely does...I feel sorry for the shark.

  • Nikki - 2011-09-28 14:02

    in all fairness with the shark cage diving comment, the closest shark cage diving site is about 300km away from fish hoek....

      Barry M - 2011-09-28 14:29

      Rubbish, try about 15km.

      Tidge - 2011-09-28 14:46

      ....and sharks swim a long way for food, especially great whites.

  • Sián - 2011-09-28 14:04

    i still remember when I was a small and cage diving wasn't popular yet, chumming didn't exist, and sharks weren't as abundant as of late. so sad that such an amazing coastline has fallen prey to this.. but bear in mind that more people are killed by falling coconuts, faulty toasters, or falling off chairs than from shark attacks each year. It is the shark's habitat after all.. we enter their domains not the other way around.

      Karla Wood - 2011-09-28 17:17

      cull sharks ... human life is better.

  • Zion - 2011-09-28 14:05

    My daughter, residing in Fishhoek witnessed the attack. During the last 5 months they have been staying there they saw dozens of big sharks swimming and some very close to the beach.

  • alison.darby - 2011-09-28 14:17

    I was on the beach this morning when the siren went off (electricity outage happened later), was on the catwalk when I saw the/a 2 metre shark, right by the kelp and rocks. about 2 hours later Main Rd was humming with emergency vehicles. I spoke with one of the Shark Spotters who said the victim was told to exit the water. known to them he proved problematic on other occasions and again today as he refused to comply and get out. QED. a crowd quickly gathered on the beach as they stabilised him and coptered him to hospital. a witness saw the shark toss him out of the water. Fish Hoek beach never looked so stunning today. paradise lost. PS this morning 2 folk were swimming near the catwalk when the siren went off.

      Shistirrer - 2011-09-28 14:29

      QED = Quite Easily Devoured?

  • Alec - 2011-09-28 14:24

    The only comment I have is that of sheer frustration for the fact that any attack seems to be directly attributed to a great white shark. There are plenty of other species that can be deemed as, if not more dangerous than a great white. The Zambesi, for example - although prevalent along the wild coast, and all the way up the east coast, these sharks have been known to swim hundreds of kilometers up fresh water rivers in search of food...I mean, Holy Crap! Great Whites are endangered animals, and thanks to sensationalist claims such as this one, and Hollywood, they have the most infamous reputation. They are scary, but they are also beautiful. I surf at Muizenburg, I know the risks - and yes, I consider these risks every time I enter the water. It is not the sharks fault, leave them alone. I don't think it's cage diving either. Look at their food sources, overfishing and migration of seals would be a main reason for sharks looking for food elsewhere.

      legalize_zol - 2011-09-29 01:25

      Exactly Alec. Sharks don't even like the taste of humans! They bite out of inquisitiveness and curiosity. Ask yourself this question. How many people that get bitten end up being eaten? The answer is hardly any. The shark usually takes a bite and then decides that the prey item is not worth eating and swims off. Yes the diver/surfer/swimmer can still end up dying, but this is pretty much always due to shock or loss of blood, not being eaten. In my view if you enter their domain be prepared to take the consequences. Nothing in life is guaranteed and everything has its risks. You knowingly take a risk when entering the sea so deal with it. If it's your time to go it's your time to go, nothing will change that.

  • Leon - 2011-09-28 14:24

    Cage diving has nothing to do with a shark attacking a human (I don’t believe in the way they use to attract sharks but this has nothing to do with cage diving). Falsbay is the breeding ground for sharks and if you enter the water, you are on his turf. It sounds bad and I do feel sad for everybody that has and will still be attacked by a shark. But just remember it is after all their house or home you are entering, and you will have to decide if you are willing to face the consequences of entering the water should there be a shark around. I just hope this don’t spark a witch hunt on sharks again.

  • Lee-Anne Saunders - 2011-09-28 14:28

    Really sad news that this happened. So many mixed feelings, but if he was warned he actively took a chance and took his life in his own hands. Just a thought - Perhaps the shark works for Eskom?

  • Nicky Ivy - 2011-09-28 14:29

    Shame, it is always horrid to hear of something like this... My thoughts to the family... However, siren or no siren (due to the power outage), cage diving or no cage diving, or what ever reason you wish to use: in the ocean we are NOT at the "top of the foodchain", and unfortunately this is just another harsh reality of nature. End of story.

  • CapeTownGal - 2011-09-28 14:36

    We were at the beach during the late morning and the siren sounded, and the white flag was raised - "Leave the water immediately". The white flag remained raised even during the power failure. My children and others who were playing on the beach spotted the shark near the rocks and watched it from Jager's Walk for a few minutes until it diappeared into the depths. There has been a lot of shark activity in the Fish Hoek beach bay and the flags have been alternating between red and white for some days now, with the siren being sounded at least 3 times this week. We can only hope that the man recovers :-(

  • luke.mammone - 2011-09-28 14:43

    I wish the guy all the best and hope he survives

  • clintas - 2011-09-28 14:47

    If I walk along the catwalk or drive further up toward Simonstown way, would I be able to spot the sharks without binoculars?

  • Michele - 2011-09-28 14:57

    I hope and pray this gentleman is OK..does not matter why it happened right now..someone is in trouble..

  • Charleen - 2011-09-28 14:59

    Shark spotters must control on the beach walk up and down from one point to another Especially When the wind direction change to North West And should be aware of the color of water.Also important to have the siren horn with them,it is of no use to just controlling the upper area they really need to know the beach like the fishermen knows the beach they have been on this beach for over many years. The shark spotter, Life Savers and the Fishermen have to work together as a team. It is the only way to keep the people save.TIM

  • Shamiel Soni - 2011-09-28 15:00

    What's up with Fish Hoek any way it obviously has a very disgruntled Shark. I am sorry if we the Stormers have won the SA COnference in the Super 15 but stop eating our Fans. Also the last guy was from Zim any way.

  • Darryn - 2011-09-28 15:08

    @james peter, as much as i agree with you, i dont think you can justify your comment; "anyone who has been cage diving has this person's blood on their hands." there are a lot of ignorant people out there and that comment is just as ignorant. as for scientific study @ 'Mr' spcwzrd, when you have had a glass of wine and dinner with a shark and have discussed at length, what and who he associates food with, you are more that welcome to comment further on the matter.

  • bling bling - 2011-09-28 15:08


  • Welcome - 2011-09-28 16:04

    Funny humans! It's in it's natural habitat doing what it does. You can't control nature people. Spotters, nets whatever. Much ado about nothing. Like blaming the Park officials because the lions ate you picnicking in the Kruger Park. Get a grip.

  • goldwhispers - 2011-09-28 16:38

    eish the sharks are coming back for summer...

  • Izzit - 2011-09-28 16:41

    Guy should sue Cape Town if the power was out and could not fire up the siren.

      Karla Wood - 2011-09-28 18:08

      The human race has suffered long enough from these evil monsters of the deep. Let the navy bomb Fishoek regularly and get rid of the problem for ever. Then I would be able to take the kids there for a swim in safety..

      Kate - 2011-09-28 19:11

      @Karla, WTF These are our animals. Move your energy towards the Taxi Drivers. These are real "human" monsters

      Nicky - 2011-09-28 19:34

      @karla you are a idiot... do some research before you bomb the place, maybe then you will open your eyes and see that the shark is very important for the ocean. the ocean wasnt made for you and your bratz. its the sharks home, plane and simple..

  • sosm1 - 2011-09-28 21:47

    These are the results when trying to tame a shark with blue bull horns on your head.....

  • cremefraiche - 2011-09-28 22:53

    @ Karla,this is crazy speak - a shark plays a vital role as top predator in a living ecosystem - the kind of living ecosystem that sustains our planet earth, and therefore our lives and the lives of our children and progeny... There is nothing remotely 'evil' about any shark - what century are you living in? Have you heard about biodiversity, the role of predators, the importance of self-sustaining ecosystems? It is not about having beaches where our kids can swim safely, we can take them to safe swimming pools - it is about preserving the biodiversity we need to sustain life! The lives of our children! It is time to get our priorities right - we need sharks in the sea. Keep your children safe in the pool. We cannot thrive, we may not survive, without biodiversity. Our children will be unacceptably threatened without it. As a responsible parent it is in your own interests to preserve biodiversity. A parent who publicly advocates the decimation of key biodiversity species is either stupid or irresponsible. Either way, your children could not be proud of you.

  • muttlet - 2011-09-29 14:34

    Everytime I read or see a report on shark attacks in South Africa, I remember the most famous line in the movie Jaws. "Anti-Shark cage. You go inside the cage? Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water." When are people going to get it in their head that we do not have fins, gills and rows of razor sharp teeth. You go in the water and you are mistaken for a seal, it is your own damm fault.

  • Garry - 2011-09-29 16:40

    I served for 4 years as a diver in Simonstown and surfskied for many more at fish hoek during the eighties and nineties. In all those years, I saw a white only once at Whittle Rock. These sharks now associate boats with a feeding event as James Peter so rightly comments. I now see photos from Diving school with sharks following boats right in Simons Bay

  • UbiandTanya - 2011-09-29 17:02

    Shark cage diving is not the problem.The guy was swimming near a river mouth where hundreds of fishes spawn. This in turn cuases seals to frequent the area which in turn cuases sharks to come closer to shore. Humans on not on the food chain as we do not contain lots of fats, a energy source that great white require to survive in cold waters. So this is a case of a mistaken identity...there were two seals in the facinity which the shark were probably comes one man swimming...get the picture