Man dies in CT shark attack

2010-01-12 17:10

Cape Town - The NSRI has confirmed that a swimmer has been the victim of a shark attack at Fish Hoek beach near Cape Town.

Ian Klopper of the NSRI told News24 that an intensive search was underway to locate the swimmer, but had so far yielded nothing.

"A white male, between 32 and 38 years old has been taken by a shark and we have not been able to locate the patient," Klopper said. The identity of the victim is still unknown.

Twitter users also confirmed the attack.

"Holy shit, we just saw a GIGANTIC shark eat what looked like a person right in front of our house in fishhoek. Unbelievable," wrote skabenga.

Bathers have been warned by Cape Town Disaster management to be on the lookout for great white sharks which traditionally cruise this stretch of the coast at this time of year.

"The appearance of white sharks is normal during peak summer months in Cape Town near in-shore areas, as these sharks are known to hunt and feed along this stretch of coastline at this time of year," spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said on Tuesday.

If you witnessed this, send your comments to

  • Gary Botha - 2010-01-12 17:19

    I still cannot fathom why it is that sane people still continue to swim in the sea. You wouldnt walk around the Kruger National Park without expecting to be attacked and eaten. For heavens sake get a swimming pool.

  • cats - 2010-01-12 17:25

    So sad

  • Joffers - 2010-01-12 17:30

    Tragic - but city of Cape Town did issue a warning beforehand! Where were the shark spotters though!

  • Yvonne - 2010-01-12 17:34

    Just this morning I read the warning On Internet! This could have been avoided. Not everybody reads Internet! Put up WARNING SIGNS AT THE BEACHES AND NEWSPAPER POSTERS ON lAMPOSTS WARNING PEOPLE.!

  • Andrew - 2010-01-12 17:45

    I was in C/T last week. I spent a day at Fishhoek beach, there were lots of shark spotters on duty there. I spoke to one who was walking on the beach and he says that there will be 3 of them on duty every day till mid Feb, and they are very proud of what they do so I doubt they missed the sharks. It is even on their website that there are 3 sharks in that area, so they must be present. I know also that they have flags and signs all over the beaches saying what the shark status is, plus they set off a continuous siren while there is a shark in the area. this is a sad tragedy, and no doubt there will be a back lash against the sharks, but having experienced the fishhoek shark spotters first hand, I doubt they missed anything.

    This is just a very sad tragic accident.

  • Spitzywitzy - 2010-01-12 17:47

    Tens of thousands of people die every year from snake bites. Sharks are statistically harmless, people should stay away from danger zones!

  • Sharkbite - 2010-01-12 17:48

    I still can't believe this.. WARNING IN THE MORNING AND LATER IN THE AFTERNOON THE VICTIM.... So sad indeed.

  • M - 2010-01-12 17:51

    Don't be ridiculous. You have a greater chance of dying falling off your chair than being eaten by a shark. Best you lot all go sit on the floor now...

  • Steve - 2010-01-12 17:52

    Posters are up, shark spotters are on duty, warning flags are flying and anybody who's been in Cape Town longer than 10 minutes and goes to the beach knows Strandfontein around to Clovelly is Great White cruising grounds between September and March EVERY YEAR. Terrible thing to happen, but it's not the first and it won't be the last.

  • Fanie - 2010-01-12 17:52

    It's so ironic that I'm not even close to CPT - in in JHB- and I knew of the Shark warnings along the Cape shores. My question aswell, where was the shark spotters or warning flags?

  • MickyM - 2010-01-12 17:53

    It's like most things in life - you have a 50 : chance !! I love flying but know I could die - love swiming in the sea and know there is a chnace I might get taken. Rtaher die doing something I love than being a victim of some selfless crime...........

  • Martin - 2010-01-12 17:54

    A black flag was flying at Fishhoek, meaning the shark spotters were not able to see any sharks due to the bad weather!

    But non-locals would perhaps not know about the warnings.

  • Roger - 2010-01-12 17:59

    Our thoughts go to the family of the victim.
    Lets not take anything away from the horror of this attack but we are statistically a lot safer in the sea than on our roads or in our own homes. Makes you think we should be making a lot more noise about these other safety issues.

  • Oupa Willem - 2010-01-12 18:00

    55, 60 Years ago, it was my favourite swimming beach and we NEVER thought about sharks there! Schnorkelling had just hit SA and we were in the water off the Catwalk most of the day with our schnorkels and goggles, enjoying this new form of water fun.
    I suspect this "new sport" of going down in cages to set ones adrenalin pumping, wathching the sharks coming right up to one's cage could be a large part of the reason for attacks in False Bay.
    Being a great fan of Channel 26o on DSTV, and having wathced most videos on sharks over the last 2 years, one of the reasons for shark attacks is that they have no hands and fingers with which to check edibility of creatures in the water, taking a "nip" with that huge sharp-toothed mouth is all they can do and then either taking a big bite or thinking "yech!, turning away and looking for other prey. Apparently today's one must've been, to crown it all, pretty hungry as well.
    Please guys, no more chumming etc and in so doing stimulating these animals' curiosity about the edibility of the thing in front of them.
    Shark fans, say what you like, its not the way to get your kicks, rather take up sump'n like bungee jumping to get your adrenalin pumping.

  • jan - 2010-01-12 18:04

    very tragic, but for those that do not live in the area, it is gale force south easter and the sea is so rough and choppy that a shark spotter wont be able to see anything. my question? who goes and swims in these conditions! not a clever thing to do!

  • Cull Needed - 2010-01-12 18:04

    Time to start a cull of Great Whites in False Bay. If we cull elephants, why not sharks?

  • Dawie Pieterse - 2010-01-12 18:05

    If it is a known fact that there is White Sharks in the area, where is the Shark Nets

  • Signlanguage - 2010-01-12 18:06

    Swimming in the sea isn't all that risky, although dangerous, and people die of stuff all the time. This is nobody's fault, sad as it is for those who lost someone today. Sharks live in the sea but very rarely hunt humans. People overreact to the "danger" of this stuff because it's dramatic, but they'll talk about how they never swim in the sea while smoking a cigarette or on their cell while driving...

  • Seabond - 2010-01-12 18:07

    I was surfing around the corner just afterwards until. The shark spotters unfortunately can't cover the whole coastline without a lot more financing. Also with this howling south easter today the sea is too churned up by the wind to see the sharks. With regards to warnings putting them up at beach would be better than intimate, but people will probably still swim anyway. And to Gary the sea is the most amazing thing on earth to swim in, to say don't swim in it because youll get eaten is like saying don't get in your car cause you'll die in a car crash. With hundreds of people surfing at muizenberg (5km from fish hoek) every day, it is clear that shark attacks are very rare and a freak occurence. Very sad none the less, and condolensces to the wife who was on the beach, and to family members.. R I P

  • william souter - 2010-01-12 18:13

    Some peoples comments are so ignorant! especially joffers. if you knew what the weather is like today, you would see that there is 0 visibility in false bay. so how can u see camo sharks in onshore blownout conditions? the shark spotters were there. And the sea is a safe place to swim if you use your brain. sharks arnt mindless killers. they hunt when conditions are at at their advantage. like today, hence the warnings. its a massive tragedy but at the same time, swimming today probably wasnt the best idea.

  • KingPaul - 2010-01-12 18:14

    Please don't blame the shark spotters. The South Easter was @ 50km/h and the water was very murky. On top of that, the shark spotters can only warn the people about sharks, they can't force them to get out of the water.

  • GT - 2010-01-12 18:17

    "SAD TRAGIC ACCIDENT"...??? what a weird thing to say. It was not an accident, big Sharks eat big prey, sad because a life was lost sure but how can you be sad if you are not family...also weird. Sharks and crocodiles have been eating people for thousands of years and will continue to do so until we get a little smarter and stop messing with there environment.

  • NEO - 2010-01-12 18:18

    Warnings everywhere... but not on the beach. One would think the first place it should be..

  • Paul - 2010-01-12 18:21

    I worked with Great White Sharks a few years ago in the Mossel Bay area. Unless one knows how to spot a shark in the water, and what to look for, they are almost impossible to see. When their is a slight breeze blowing which puts a chop on the water's surface, even the best of shark spotters can't spot them.
    I've personally seen Great Whites circling swimmers along these beaches, as close as 2 meters around them, without them or the lifeguards from the beach or in their patrol vessel noticing them.
    Fact is, that they are more often around swimmers than anyone could imagining. Which actually proves that they are not out to killing people.
    To spot a shark, the best advice would be to wear polarized sunglasses, which take the glare off the water, so to see 'into' the water. And obviously, they're easier to notice from an elevated position.

    One doesn't want to go this far really, but the best would be to stay relatively in swallow water - less than 1.5m in depth. And seeing that White Sharks are not known for taking risks, it's better to be in a group in the water. Numbers seem to deter attacks from them.

  • Herman - 2010-01-12 18:22

    Gary, if everybody thought like you did nobody would be driving around in a car, ever! Swimming in the ocean, even at Fishhoek Beach, is a lot saver than driving to work.

  • Gary - 2010-01-12 18:27

    There was a black South Easter this morning. Perhaps the shark spotters could not see the shark in the prevailing conditions.
    My condolences to the family of the victim. Not a nice way to go.

  • Dave Lombardi - 2010-01-12 18:28

    Is it feasible to erect shark nets around a designated swimming area?

  • Elizabeth - 2010-01-12 18:33

    We where on Fish Hoek beach yesterday and I kept on telling my kids to not go out to far! I also did not notice any shark spotters! Very sad what has happened! It is the second fatal attack on this beach in as many years! Something definately needs to be done! We where at Muizenberg beach last week when a shark was spotted in the surf and I must say, the evacuation from the water was extremely professionally done!!

  • johan - 2010-01-12 18:36

    really sad ... and futile ...

  • 4forfamilyfun - 2010-01-12 18:39

    One must remember.... the swimmer is invading THEIR territory, they haven't walked onto the land and invaded yours!!
    As a child, when I lived in SA, I went swimming every day at Fish Hoek beach with a friend and we never had any problems. However, we were always cautious. One day I was shown a picture from a handglider and you would be shocked to know just how many are in the bay. It's their right and their territory. It's not sad, the swimmer should not have been so far out!
    Spitzywitzy is right - stay away!

  • Ralph - 2010-01-12 18:42

    I was walking on Fish Hoek beach one day when the siren went off and at first thought it was train. There is a similarity between the sirens. Then the shark flag went up and I realised what was happening but several people continued swim inspite of the shark warning. I am not sure if everyone understands all the signals.

  • Southernwrite - 2010-01-12 18:44

    There was a warning flag out indicating murky water so that spotting a shark would be more difficult - A tragedy - hopefully not the same one that took the elderly lady awhile back - I think the snake bite statistic is a bit suspect -

  • Angie Michel - 2010-01-12 18:51

    So sad. Fish hoek is one of the most beatiful beaches in the World. My family has enjoyed swimming there for generations.
    I suspect this attack to largely due to chumming, where foreign tourist go out in boats to the see the famous Air Jaws.

  • Amanda - 2010-01-12 18:54

    Do not blame the shark spotter, he is traumatised. You imagine seeing a shark attack from on top of a mountain and not being able to shout loudly enough to warn the victim.


    I'm a total shark fanatic, this is my viewpoint: Seal Island a few km offshore houses 60,000 seals. According to National Geographic, the resident great white shark population is round about 60 (which I recon to be totally understated-it depends WHEN you take count since they migrate up the coast to Sodwana in Kwazulu-Natal and back- although the migration starts earlier in summer), and they have been known to patrol the beaches just offshore beyond the breakers, up and down the entire False Bay areay. Your risk of being attacked by a shark? 1 out of 12 million (getting struck by lightning=1 out of 10 million). You have a better chance of dying in a car accident on your way to the beach. I recon your chances of getting eaten goes up considerably if you dare to swim in False Bay. I wouldn't sit my foot in those waters.

    If you swim in the sea; stick to the following rules:
    1. Avoid swimming at dusk/dawn. Seriously! I am not pulling your leg!
    2. Avoid excessive splashing.
    3. A lot of noise attracts sharks, especially low frequency sounds (beating on the water).
    4. Take your watch/jewelry off; shimmering=fish. I you are on a surfboard, cover your feet and hands; think about it: a small moving white portion agains a dark body suit might look like something edible...
    5. Stay within the group of people, a shark will most likely target the outsiders (just like a lion)
    6. You are more likely to be attacked in a vertical position than a horisontal position.
    7. If you are attacked,the only two sensitive points are the eyes and gills.
    8. Great White sharks (if you are lucky), usually exert a massive first blow, then withdraws to leave the victim to bleed/become weaker before returning. This is all time you got...
    9. Most people bleed to death from shark attacks. Time to medical rescue is absolutely crucial.
    10. Put towels onto open wounds and exert as much pressure as possible to stop the bleeding (any medical experts; PLEASE add here?) I'm talking about brute force here; just holding the towel in the wound is not going to do the trick.
    11. COUNT the number of people left in the water. This is the one that absolutely amazes me everytime! This is simple statistics; you want the shark to have a choice at least, don't you?
    12. Rivers - Carcharinus leucas (Zambesi) has been found 1750 miles inland in rivers. Thus avoid rivers close to their sea outlets, especially areas close to outlets, both in the river AS WELL as the surf.
    13. Excessive bleeding=dinner bell. Scratch=no worries. That time of the month=no worries.
    14. My own theory: If you swim in False Bay, overcast conditions make it difficult for the shark spotters to spot an approaching shark, since the clouds reflect against the water, plus most great white shark attacks is launched from as deep below as possible, in order for the shark to gain as much speed before hitting its target, further obscurring the approaching danger.
    15. Bright colours might attract sharks (the school is still out on this one-I'm a bit sceptical)
    16. Look out for schools of mid-size (not small) fish in the water, get out for some time. Sharks eat these. The Great White Sharks of age (above 7-10 years)will however target the predatory fish that targets these school of fish. The smaller Great Whites will target these fish, but are generally wary of humans.

    Chances of survival:
    1. Carcharodon carcharias (Great White) - 30%
    2. Carcharinus leucas (Zambesi/Bull) - 50% (imagine a shark with a pitbull terrier mentality)
    3. Galeocerdo cuvier (Tiger) - 40% (chance of limb loss the greatest due to shape of teeth - it can cut right through bone, needed to prey on sea turtles)
    2 and 3 are found up higher on the coast,1 everywhere.

    PS - Each seal devours 900kg of fish per year. Without Carcharodon Carcharias (the Great White), the seals will create HAVOC on the local fish population. You do the maths; 60000x900=54000 tons of fish GONE. Shark watching; I suggest contacting Chris Fallows in Cape Town, an absolute expert (National Geographic and Discovery recon so too)and shark ambassador, would like to meet him someday.

    So I tend to agree with Gary Botha and Yvonne, go swim elsewhere, our country have loads of other beautiful beaches (try Blouberg closeby), or else...

  • bradlesliect - 2010-01-12 19:00

    I've been to Fish Hoek on 3 occasions in the last two weeks and each time I was dying to swim( excuse the pun ) but my gut kept telling me to stay out of the water.

    I even went down to Hermanus and there too I really wanted to swim but again my gut said "stay out of the water"...

    My condolescences to the family of the victim. Its not easy dealing with the loss of a loved one. I pray that they recover the body. Sharks are not really into human flesh unless they are really hungry.

  • Haras - 2010-01-12 19:06

    Can I just mention to skabenga, who was twittering, that that person, who was killed by the shark, was very special to many people, and so maybe one should be a little more careful in choice of phrase. Thanks

  • Monekys logic - 2010-01-12 19:23

    Well stated Seabond. Best remark on this page by far regarding this tragedy.

  • Adele - 2010-01-12 19:25

    Elizabeth: You will not see the sharkspotters from the beach as they sit high on the mountain overlooking fishoek, they do a good job, but with this's almost impossible to see anything!

  • Ranger - 2010-01-12 19:28

    More sharks are killed by humans than humans killed by sharks!!! Swimming elsewhere is as daft an idea as it gets. Thats like telling wildlife conservationist to only drive vehicles and not walk about or track animals on foot, its a daft idea to only swim in your pool! cocme on just be sensible!!!

  • Alistair - 2010-01-12 19:35

    Heya to the author of the above long post - I'd like to add it to my website for future surfers in the area. Get in touch at info[at]muizies[] Thanks :)

  • namlion - 2010-01-12 19:48

    You cannot change or fight statistics - someone will have to fall victim, sooner or later - like small aircraft fatalities..they will crash and sharks will attack

  • JAYNE - 2010-01-12 19:49

    Very sad, but the ocean belongs to the magnificent creatures that inhabit it - not us humans.

  • GarethG - 2010-01-12 19:50

    I agree with Oupa Willem 100%, I've lived in the area for 50 years + and its only in the past 10 years that these attacks have been raising their heads. I disagree the crap that people don't belong in the water. We have just as much right as the sharks to bei in the water and to protect ourselves. The only difference was that 10 yrs + ago the large sharks and seals were taken out by rifle fire off shark island because they interfered with fishing. I say take out a few sharks to discourage them from cruising off the popular beaches. There is way enough other ocean for them to hunt in.

  • Brad - 2010-01-12 19:52

    Surely after all this, some flags or alarm bells must be going off for the authorities! Durban has shark nets. Why can't we have something more up-to-date like electronic devices streching along our beaches. These devices only repel predatory sharks, and nothing else!!!

  • DT - 2010-01-12 19:59

    I believe the flags were up, tragic as it is, there is a reason why warnings are given.

  • JD - 2010-01-12 20:00

    I grew up swimming on that beach, my parents grew up swimming on that beach - there were always sharks and there have always been the odd chunk taken out of a board a canoe or the odd surfer, but never whole people being devoured.... Something must be responsible for the change in behavior!

  • ian - 2010-01-12 20:22

    Sad what happened however I will still swim at fish Hoek, it is a wonderful beach and well kept an looked after by Fish Hoek council and residents. It is one of those things and bearing in mind how many attacks have happened ? Attacks happen all around the world, just recently in Australia while I was there. Prays with the family. Dont go and kill our nature, it is a natural thing and we as man has made it that way with churning.

  • Jason Kentri - 2010-01-12 20:28

    Sharks don't walk down Long Street going "Sjoe bru, check the road" and people should not go paddling going "sjoe bru, check the surf". Sharks swim in the ocean, they like walks on land and likes fish. Tit for tat...which part is unclear?

  • Brendon - 2010-01-12 20:44

    There have been a recorded 90 fully grown great whites in False Bay. To swim there is sheer stupidity I'm sorry.