Shark attack: Water very warm, murky

2012-01-15 23:02

Cape Town - The NSRI says the man who died after being attacked by a shark at Port St Johns' Second Beach was not surfing, but swimming in the very warm water. Visibility was also poor.

John Costello, the NSRI's Port St Johns station commander, said when volunteer sea rescue duty crew reached Second Beach, on-scene lifeguards, Eastern Cape health officials and paramedics were trying to save a 25-year-old man's life. 

Costello said the man, from Tombo, had been bitten numerous times while he was swimming in waist-deep water among a crowd of bathers.

"He had sustained multiple traumatic lacerations to his torso, arms and legs.

"A surfer, and other bathers, managed to rescue the man from the sea and lifeguards on duty at the beach and a doctor who happened to be there, began treatment before paramedics arrived," Costello said.

"They continued with treatment while transporting the man to a local clinic in a critical condition.

"At the clinic, medical staff declared the man dead after all efforts to save him had been exhausted," Costello added.

"The Natal Sharks Board is currently carrying out studies in an effort to find out why there has been such a spate of shark attacks near Port St Johns."

  • Simon - 2012-01-15 23:30

    Isn't Port St Johns a known breeding ground for sharks? So tragic, condolences to the family. There have been too many attacks there, let's hope swimming is now banned indefinitely at this beach until a solution can be found.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-16 06:28

      People are sometimes just plain dumb. Warning signs, life savers, nothing helps - if they want to swim they will. Been watching the swimmers in Strand recently - no regard for safety = 2 drownings. Sharks? Who me? never!

      karen.glautier - 2012-01-16 09:16

      I'm very confused! I read an article this morning that gave an eye witness (the surfer next to him) report of the man fighting the shark off with his surfboard??

      Eugene - 2012-01-16 09:34

      Simon: It is not necessary to find a solution because there isn't really a problem. Shark attack are so rare they are simply not worth worrying about at all. All activities of any kind carry some risk; we cannot appoint commissions of inquiry to investigate and solve every conceivable risk, including even very minor ones. To the extent that we need a solution, we already have one: don't swim in murky water or near fishermen. The fact is that vastly more people drown in the sea every year than are attacked by sharks, and even more die on the roads on their way to the beach. Shark attacks are a virtual non-issue, however tragic for the individuals and families involved (and certainly I do not mean to make light of their tragedy.) But worrying about shark attacks is pretty much like worrying that an aircraft will crash into your house - the risk is about the same, namely so low it is not worth having sleepless nights over.

      dominiquesnyman - 2012-01-16 13:44

      People die from malaria - doesn't mean they can outlaw people living in mosquito infested areas... Thousands die on our roads - doesnt mean they are going to outlaw cars... That way of thinking is just illogical...

  • cosmos.ndebele - 2012-01-15 23:40

    Africans respect wild animals on LAND and respect deadly species lurking in waters, Sharks ar looking for food in water, so anything warm blooded provides chance for dinner.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-16 06:12

      Warm blooded creatures are not what they normally eat. People are seldom eaten, they are bitten (like having a taste first) - the bites cause enough damage to kill. I wonder how this poor oke was chosen above anyone else swimming in the crowd, or was it just fate? Not quite sure what your point is re emphasising "Africans"?

      Sean - 2012-01-16 08:24

      I bet the Rhino's dont agree with that statement!

      karen.glautier - 2012-01-16 09:18

      @chum scrubber, not being difficult, but don't sharks eat seals and penguins, or is that not this type of shark??

      morgan.malyon - 2012-01-16 14:10

      @ Chum Scrubber, it is VERY likely that he was urinating in the water and that's why the shark chose him above the others in the water. Our urine carries a certain scent in it that attracts sharks when they are nearby. It's not the only reason,but a plausible one as to why he was "chosen" by the shark.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-16 15:01

      @karen - different shark, the culprit here is more than likely a Zambezi, some Great White's live off seals and penguins, they are resident around islands with colonies of these creatures. Zambezi's are opportunistic, but generally eat fish - hence they normally just bite humans. Attacks are normally in dirty water, if they can see you I think they generally leave you alone. Notice how I emphasise "normally, generally", there are no fixed rules - the critters are always potentially dangerous - but far from normally dangerous.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-16 15:04

      Thanks morgan, very useful bit of info. Better to hold it in then until out of the water then - I know scuba divers often joke about peeing in their wetsuits to warm them up a mo - maybe not such a good idea. And swimming seems to be a bit of a dieretic, for me anyway.

      Gungets - 2012-01-16 16:08

      Morgan is quite right. Research has shown that urine in the water attracts sharks in the close proximity. A surfer that was targetted by 2 GW sharks in St Francis a couple of years ago was having a swaz in his wetsuit. ----> and another theory - there is a buried whale on the beach - from 10 years ago. ---->

  • gregcusens - 2012-01-16 01:33

    Just north of this beach, 1 km or more is a point known to heavy tackle anglers for it's shark fishing "The Gap". There are many other spots in this area like it. There is no mystery and nothing to discover, the water's around PSJ are shark infested. How many have gone missing in that area over the years and it is put down to drowning?

  • Jan - 2012-01-16 03:14

    Even here in Perth there has been a huge increase in shark attacks. That being said, it is a bit silly to swim in merkey waters close to dawn and dusk. That was when most of the attacks happened over here. Also, it seems the guys who spear-fish are most at risk. I take my hat off to those with balls of steel who spear-fish. I dive for abalone and crayfish, but thats in shallow waters and in the kelp.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-16 06:17

      The spearos hardly ever get attacked, even though they operate in true shark territory. I know most spearos will fight off a shark that trys to eat their catch. The okes used to even carry their catch on their bodies, at least now they have a float and rope so the catch is several meters from them. Len Jones had his catch taken off his body by a Great White! Doubt many know the sea and sharks better than spearos. But ja, swimming in murky water is not wise - the spearos don't as they need to be able to see in order to hunt.

  • Angling - 2012-01-16 05:47

  • Paul - 2012-01-16 05:50

    Here's a no-brainer; not far from here they put blood in the water and drop people in cages to see the sharks close up. Sharks travel thousands of kilometers non-stop. Here is some recognisable food and the tin has been already opened...

      Ivan - 2012-01-16 09:53

      Paul you are a no brainer. There is no cage diving off Port Saint Johns. Shark diving with highly controlled release of sardine OIL, not blood is the method used to attract sharks. The river was in flood and there were carcass's of cows etc seen in the surf zone. This is simply another tragic accident. People need to be educated about not swimming in murky water near river mouths, especially if they are in flood as the Umzimvubu was.

      Debbie - 2012-01-16 10:02

      What a load of rubbish, there is NO cage diving anywhere near Port St Johns.

  • Nitro - 2012-01-16 07:07

    WTF! Yesterday a NEWS24 report said that he was surfing and an EYE witness who was also surfing told NEWS24 that the 25yr old male tried to bash the shark with the surf board? Once again there are so many reports and that we don not know which one is the true version. Poor Poor News24

      fishycraig - 2012-01-16 08:19

      These are like two different stories. For a second, while reading this one, I thought another person had been attacked the reporting was so different. Bad reporting...

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-01-16 07:53

    When I was growing up most of Natal,s popular beaches had shark nets in place. Shark attacks were rare. Has this all changed?

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-01-16 08:04

      Port St Johns is in the Eastern Cape and not in Natal. And to answer your question, no nothing has changed, we still have shark nets on our coast.

      Sean - 2012-01-16 08:42

      Not really. The nets have little inpact of the predatory sharks that can be classed as human killers. Check out Black December on Nat Geo and get the real truth.

      Ivan - 2012-01-16 09:55

      Shark nets do absolutely nothing to protect bathers other than as a placebo. 90% of sharks caught are heading out away from the beaches and the by catch of whales, Turtles and Dolphins is a dirty little secret that runs into the tens of thousands since the nets have been installed.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-16 15:09

      Very destructive things, shark nets, but without them the tourism industry on the South Coast of KZN would have come to a grinding halt. I think what they really do is reduce the number of large sharks living inshore, not a very good thing for the marine ecology. I believe this has had a severe impact, hence anglers catch much fewer fish today than before the nets. Very very sad situation, I wish a better method could be used.

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-16 15:14

      Ivan, is it really a secret. Visit the Sharks Board at Umhlanga Rocks sometime, they are quite open about the facts re the bycatch. They are not happy about it, I just can't understand why it is taking so long to improve the situation. Whatever they say, it IS having a severely detrimental effect on the marine ecology, and thus economy - so surely tourism versus feeding humans from the sea needs a balance. Maybe some beaches need to be closed to bathing in the name of saving our fishing industry. Less nets would surely help?

      Gungets - 2012-01-16 16:11

      Ivan - incorrect. The stats show 50% either direction. As for 10's of thousands of dolphin - also not correct. --->

      Ivan - 2012-01-18 17:31

      Gungets...those statistics are for the 4 years 2005-2009. They do not reflect the overall statistics and those nets have been in since the 50's when there were far more marine animals around. It is exactly this kind of mis direction that the Sharks Board excells at. The truth of the matter is that bar about 5 beaches in the KZN coast Shark nets are completely superfulous. Sharks Board would be better off as a marine patrol and conservation body enforcing commercial and recreational fishing regulations.

  • Gavin Wayne Dorfling - 2012-01-16 08:25

    I've been to port st Johns since I was a baby. I've swam up and down second beach for over 15 years and there was never one attack. The last 4 years we have not been there an that's when all the attacks have been. At 2nd beach fisherman fish of a rock called "the gap". Its right next to the beach and is known for all its massive sharks been caught. Would love to go back there someday but doubt ill swim...

      Glenys - 2012-01-16 15:52

      Hi Gavin I myself grew up going to Port St Johns for holidays My grandfather Lived there as a child with 9 bothers and sisters their house was on the River Bank so we were taught never to swim at the mouth of the River due to shark infested waters at 1st beach. 2nd beach was always safe without shark nets the only dangers were that of severe current dragging you into the rocks it,is after all the wild coast. Grand Dad would have been a 111 yrs old so you can imagine how long we've known Port st Johns just haven't been back for ages. So whats happened ......are bathers getting to comfortable.....dirty water means SHARK

  • Andrew - 2012-01-16 10:29

    A Human life has been lost. People are hurting. My Suncere Condolences to the Family and Friends

  • Paul - 2012-01-16 11:02

    Ivan, if you read properly you'd see that I said "...not far from here" and that sharks swim thousands of kilometers. For sharks the Cape IS just around the corner.

      Ivan - 2012-01-16 11:59

      Paul, any animal that swam thousands of Kilomtres on the off chance that there might be food would not live to pass on that genetic code. Sharks do migrate thousands of Kilometres for reasons not fully understood by science. If you think a Shark at Gaansbaai can pick up the scent of blood at 2nd beach then I suggest you go and do some homework. You seem to be trying to link cage diving in the Cape with this attack not sure of your motives. PS Cage less shark diving occurs at Protea Banks.

  • Grimett - 2012-01-16 11:30

    Port st Johns Second beach probably has the highest number of shark attacks globally,we need to bear in mind that our recreation (swimming)need not interfere with their livelyhood,they have to be there, they don't have a choice,we do.We will however always be shocked and saddened by tragedy and let us be warned.If another shark attack happened today, would u say the sharks are on the warpath ? or would u say the bather was an idiot ?

  • rayzasharp - 2012-01-16 11:43

    When exactly did this attack happen, I can't see that information in the article?

  • Wendy - 2012-01-16 12:15

    So Sad..Condolences to the family. The great white are moveing into warmer water. Ban surfing and swimming its not worth it. Wendy

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-01-16 15:49

      Why ban it, if you want to take the risk its surely a freedom that should be allowed? Ban driving, the roads are very dangerous ... jeez, life could become very boring if we allow fear to dictate how we live. Anyway, the attack was more than likely a Zambezi, not a Great White.

  • Peter - 2012-01-16 15:56

    Second Beach is now officially the most dangerous beach for shark attacks on the planet. That's really something the tourism board there should consider. I used to surf there ten years ago but never when the river was in flood and the water dirty, way too many big Zambezis and foolhardy given the Gap is right there. Mind you it is mostly just hammerheads they catch there. Would I surf Second Beach again? You bet I would.

  • Johann - 2012-01-16 18:17

    I agree that we are most likely looking at a Zambezi or a Tiger shark. Heard rumours that sewage sometimes discharge into the sea in this area. Apparently sewage also attracks sharks specifically Tigers that is the Hyenas of the ocean

  • Craig - 2012-01-22 16:38

    Blood/animal sacrifices are made regularly on the rocks at second on the light house side of the beach. Entrails are ofter found in the rock pools with the surf rushing over the rocks, washing the blood back into the water. Everyone is in a state of denial including the town major as he is concerned that he might upset local communities who continue these practices. Stop Chumming the swimming beach and the attacks will stop.

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