Saturday, June 18, 2005

Brave fight with white shark

Piet van Niekerk spoke yesterday of the fear and desperation he experienced when a Great White shark attacked his spear-fishing partner Henri Murray in False Bay on June 4."You know you could lose your life at any minute. Obviously it scared me," he said.Van Niekerk, a fourth-year medical student at Stellenbosch University, said: "Henri was an adrenaline junkie.

He told me before we went into the water he wouldn't mind dying if it was his time to go."During the attack, Murray fought off the shark twice before it caught him in its jaws and wrenched him underwater, Van Niekerk said. "I think the third time it came from underneath and that's why Henri didn't get away," he said.Van Niekerk fired a speargun into the shark, but it disappeared into the sea. He then raced to shore to phone for help.

Despite the trauma of witnessing his friend's gruesome death, Van Niekerk said he would return to the water "as soon as possible". However, he urged safety officials to take measures to prevent future attacks.He also said he thought shark cage diving provoked these attacks.Some officials from the National Sea Rescue Institute said Van Niekerk's description of the latest attack matched accounts of the attack that killed Tyna Webb last year.

In fact, they said, the same shark could be responsible for both. But NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said there was not enough information to conclude it was the same shark."You just can't be certain," said Lambinon .


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