Shark takes big bite out of Plett paddler's surf ski

2016-12-19 11:04

Cape Town – A paddler was knocked off his surf ski when a shark apparently breached and took a bite out of the lightweight vessel near the breaker line at Keurbooms Lagoon in Plettenberg Bay on Monday morning.

Local National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station commander Marc Rodgers in a statement said the paddler, Ben Swart, 55, had been in the water with two friends when he felt a "hard bump" shortly after 07:00.

The three are regular paddlers who are in the town on holiday, and were paddling from Central Beach to Keurbooms about 400m offshore.

The knock, which came from underneath his surf ski seat, threw Swart into the air and he landed in the water.

The damaged surf ski after a shark bit into it
The damaged surf ski after a shark bit into it. (NSRI Plettenberg Bay)

It is believed that a great white shark, about 4m in size, had breached and taken a "fair-sized bite" out of the surf ski, Rodgers said.

Sightings along the coast

"Ben was able to swim back to his damaged surf ski which still had a fair amount of buoyancy. He lay down on the surf ski while his two friends rafted their surf skis alongside the damaged surf ski and they began gently paddling towards the shore while calling NSRI Plettenberg Bay, raising the alarm and requesting assistance."

About 30 seconds after incident, one of Swart's friends saw the shark in the water nearby.

There were no further sightings by the group.

The NSRI found the men in the surf and they were taken aboard a rescue craft and back to shore.

"Photos of the surf ski, measurements and an account of the incident will be sent to research authorities for investigation to determine the size and the species of the shark," Rodgers said.

Coast watchers monitoring the seas have cautioned that shark sightings were made along the Plettenberg Bay coastline following the incident.

Read more on:    plettenberg bay  |  sharks  |  animals

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