Death in the water

2012-04-20 00:00

KOGEL BAY — The great white shark swam under his board, grabbed him, let go, and grabbed again. Then there was just blood and the screams of the bodyboarder who was killed on the False Bay coast yesterday.

At about 12.15 pm yesterday, Lucille Bester tried to warn David Lillienveld (20), his brother Gustav (18) and a friend, Kirk Morgan, when she spotted a great white shark from the road above a parking area near The Caves (Dappat se Gat) between Gordons Bay and Kogel Bay. However, the bodyboarders did not hear her.

Lillienveld, from Camps Bay, who had obtained his South African colours in bodyboarding, was attacked and died at the scene. His right leg was bitten off.

“I screamed, but it was too far, they couldn’t hear me. The shark swam under the board and suddenly grabbed the man. He screamed. The shark let go and then grabbed him again. There was blood everywhere.

“I stopped a passing motorist and told him there’d just been a shark attack. The man immediately called emergency services,” said Bester, who is new in the Cape. She said the shark was about four metres long.

Friends sobbed bitterly while Lillienveld’s body was lifted into an ambulance at about 3.30 pm.

His body was taken to the Stellenbosch mortuary, where a post-mortem will be held, according to provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut.

“According to eyewitnesses there were two sharks — a large one and a smaller one. But the man was bitten only once, on the leg, and died from loss of blood,” Traut added.

Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Institute said it was the first shark attack at Kogel Bay he has heard about in his 20 years with the institute.

Friends at the scene held on to one another while they stared at the sea, their eyes red from crying. Long after most bystanders had left, the small group of friends still sat weeping with their heads bowed.

“We’ve lost a gem of a person,” said Liesbet Miller, a friend of Lillienveld. “He was the friendliest, nicest person who never fought with anyone. We saw each other as recently as Tuesday evening. This is terribly sad.”

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