Fish Hoek shark victim stable

2011-09-29 14:31

A 43-year-old British man attacked by a great white shark at Fish Hoek in Cape Town was in a stable condition today.

Michael Cohen had lost a lot of blood, but according his doctor “was doing well”, Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic spokesperson Faye Kariem said.

“He is in a stable condition. He was in a critical condition. He lost a lot of blood. Seven litres, according to his doctor. But, according to his doctor, he is doing well,” she said.

Cohen, from the Cape Town suburb of Plumstead, was airlifted to hospital after the attack yesterday afternoon.

The City of Cape Town said the attack happened around 12.15pm. Shark spotters had sighted the shark at 10.45am and then closed the beach. The white shark flag was raised and the siren set off.

A shark flag, indicating the presence of a great white, had been flying when Cohen entered the water.

A shark spotter stationed on the beach was warned by a shark spotter on the mountain overlooking Fish Hoek that someone had entered the water.

The spotter then ran to Clovelly Corner to warn Cohen, but the attack took place before he could reach him.

Cohen was the only person in the water at the time.

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon said Cohen was pulled out of the water by “two humble good samaritans”, Douglas Drysdale (61) of Glencairn Heights and Hugh Till (66) of Fish Hoek.

The men had been returning from Pollsmoor Prison, where they are voluntary spiritual guidance counsellors.

They usually look out for whales as they round Clovelly Corner on Main Road on their way back.

Yesterday, they saw Cohen swimming about 25m out to sea in the direction of Fish Hoek, when a dark shape appeared about 30m in front of him.

“As the dark shape grew closer to the swimmer, the two men realised it was a shark,” Lambinon said.

The men drove into the car park and raced onto the beach. Cohen was by then struggling, the sea around him red with blood.

“Without hesitation, the two men kicked off their shoes, plunged into the water and waded through the surf to reach the injured swimmer,” Lambinon said.

“Douglas had called the emergency services before plunging into the water himself.”

Till grabbed Cohen by the hand. Drysdale grabbed Till and dragged them shorewards.

Cohen suffered a complete amputation of his right leg, above the knee, and a partial amputation of his left leg, below the knee.

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