Witness tells of shark's relentless attack

2012-04-19 22:35
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Kogel Bay shark attack

See all the pictures from the scene where a bodyboarder was killed by a shark near Cape Town.

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Cape Town - A witness on Thursday told of how a "massive" shark, presumed to be a Great White, relentlessly attacked a young man before eventually biting off his right leg.

The bodyboarder, 20-year-old David Lilienfeld, died from his injuries, after the attack near Kogel Bay in Cape Town.

Matt Marais, who regularly surfs at the spot "Caves", was out enjoying a "really fun surf" with his dad and a friend, unaware of the tragedy that was about to unfold.

He had seen two younger bodyboarders - Lilienfeld and his younger brother - before sitting on the beach to call his wife to tell her that he was running late.

"I saw a huge dorsal fin of a shark surface near to the two bodyboarders, and close in on them.

"My wife answered and I just told her to call the police, call the ambulance, there's a shark attack happening right now," Marais told ZigZag magazine.

Marais said Lilienfeld tried to to fight off the shark by pushing his bodyboard between himself and the massive predator, but it was relentless.

"The shark kept coming back, a second and I think a third time, before it got his leg. It was like someone pushed a button to turn the sea from a clear blue to dark red, that's how quickly he was losing blood from the wound," he said.

Marais said he called "anyone he could think of to try and get someone over as quickly as possible to come and assist with medical help".

"I think it took about 8 minutes to get the young bodyboarder to shore, but you could already tell by that time that he'd lost a lot of blood."

A horror show

Marais said that the shark was a "conservative" 3m long, but could easily have been bigger, it was "massive".

"The shark also hung around in the bay for a long time after the attack, just patrolling the bay in very shallow water, sometimes not even 50m from the shore,"

Marais told ZigZag that he has been surfing at Kogel Bay for 19 years, but "something just doesn't feel right there anymore"

"I've got a feeling I am going to regret coming down to the beach for this surf for a long time. The visual memory of the bodyboarder being attacked is going to be stuck in the back of my mind and although I've often surfed Caves alone, I don't think I will be doing that anymore. At least for a long time to come"

"It was a horror show. It looked like something from the Jaws movie."

Marais lamented the role humans play in shark attacks.

"This is my personal opinion, but I feel we are interfering way too much with the great whites, with chumming the waters and cage diving etc, and that this may be causing the sharks to behave unnaturally."

Read more on:    david lilienfeld  |  cape town  |  shark attacks
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