Shark attack claims 8th life at Port St Johns beach

Another fatal shark attack has taken place at Port St Johns' notorious Second Beach.

The victim is understood to be a German tourist in his 60s who was staying at a lodge in the Eastern Cape tourist town. The town's Second Beach has become known as the deadliest stretch of water on the planet in terms of shark attacks.

The tourist’s body was recovered by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), which had been alerted to the incident by local residents who saw the man being taken by the shark in waist-deep water. Police and local councillors subsequently arrived at the beach, which, despite its deadly history, is used by hundreds of swimmers at weekends and thousands over the December festive season.

Resident Cat Yazbek told City Press the bather was taken by a shark at the beach shortly before 3pm. His body washed towards the shore before being sucked out towards the point at the southern tip of the deadly bay.

Her partner, Michael Gatke, said bathers had returned to the water while the dead man’s body was being retrieved from the water.

“It’s incredible. People were there in the waist-deep water, swimming, while the body was still being taken out of the water,” said Gatke.

Today’s is the eight fatal shark attack at Second Beach in five years.

On Christmas Day 2012 the notorious but highly popular beach – one of the jewels of the former Transkei’s Wild Coast – claimed its seventh victim since the current spate of fatal attacks began five years ago.

Liya Sibili (22) from Ntsimbini, a rural village about 35km inland from Port St Johns, was taken by a shark in waist-deep water at Second Beach at around 4.20pm. Only his bathing trunks were recovered despite a three-day search for his body. Last March 39-year-old Fundile Nodumla survived an attack at the same beach.

On January 15 2012 Lungisani Msungubana was killed by a shark, exactly a year after Zama Ndamase, a provincial surfer, had been killed.

In the summer of 2009, three local youngsters, Tshintsekile Nduva, Sikhanyiso Bangilizwe and Luyolo Mangele, were killed at Second Beach.

In 2007 a shark killed Siyabulela Masiza, a life-saver, who had already been bitten on his calf and survived in 2004. The bodies of Masiza and Nduva were never recovered.

There are no shark nets at the rocky beach because of prohibitive costs. Research has been conducted by the KZN Sharks Board into the attacks and solutions such as seasonal netting and turning the bay into a tidal pool have been mooted, but no concrete action has been taken by provincial or local government.

» This story was updated after first published.

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