Shark savages man

2013-10-12 00:00

JEFFREY’S BAY — An eyewitness at Jeffrey’s Bay told how he hit a five-metre great white shark with his canoe paddle to chase it from the body of swimmer Burgert van der Westhuizen (74) yesterday.

“I was paddling out to sea when I heard screams that someone had been attacked by a shark. I turned back to help,” Terry Olivier (64) said, standing on Point beach in the small Eastern Cape surfing town.

Other witnesses said the attack was typical of a great white. The sharks attack from below and then leap in the air, before dragging their prey under.

Olivier said Van der Westhuizen’s body was mutilated.

“I started hitting the shark with my paddle. When I tried to get the man’s torso out of the water, the shark came and took another bite out of it.”

This happened five times, before the shark began to circle Olivier’s canoe.

“I really wanted to help the man, but it was already too late. Then I had to get away before the shark got me as well,” he said.

Rieghard van Rensburg, commander of the local National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station, said they were called to a drowning at about 11.30 am, but quickly realised it was a shark attack.

Town residents and surfers were shocked at the presence of the feared predator and all local beaches were closed until the NSRI could ascertain their safety.

Van der Westhuizen was a well-known open water swimmer in the town. His friends flooded his Facebook page with messages expressing their shock at his death yesterday.

A friend, Brenton Williams, said the swimmers were cautious and avoided the water if the presence of sea birds and dolphins indicated sharks might be around, feeding.

“But there was no indication [yesterday], it was so unusual and unexpected.”

Eastern Cape shark expert Malcolm Smale of the Bayworld Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth, said he could not remember another fatal shark attack in the province, aside from Port St Johns, where there have been several.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.