Friday, October 28, 2005

Surfer victim of shark accident

A surfer from Tokai, Cape Town, was attacked by a Great White shark on Saturday at the popular Uilenkraalsmond holiday resort near Gansbaai.

Stiaan van Zyl, 20, was attacked on Saturday morning, approximately 100m south of the river mouth in chest-deep water.

He was wading into the sea when something suddenly grabbed his right foot and lifted him from the water.

He told Die Burger that a 3m-long shark lifted him into the air and shook him like a rag.
"It felt as though my foot was going to be ripped off.

"I tried to knock it away from me and also attempted to push
my finger into its eye.

"It then suddenly let go of me and I could get onto my surfboard, which was fastened to my left leg."
According to Van Zyl he was then able to reach the beach safely with the aid of a big breaker.
"That wave saved my life," he said later.

When he reached the shallow water, he was not able to walk on his right leg.

A weekend visitor from Cape Town, Ryan Ohfond and his son Cody, 5, went to the aid of Van Zyl.
Ohfond phoned Marietjie, Van Zyl's mother. His father, Piet, and eldest brother, Johan, hastened to the scene.

Van Zyl was taken to the surgery of Dr Marina Barnard from where he was transferred to the Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town by Red Cross helicopter.

Van Zyl's achilles tendon was stitched up in an emergency operation.

According to Van Zyl it is a miracle that very little damage was done.

"I tremble when I think of what the result could have been if those teeth grabbed my leg higher up.
We are very thankful indeed," he said.

Wilfred Chivell, a local "animal Samaritan?"and expert on maritime life, described the incident as a "shark accident".

"Had it been a real shark attack, Van Zyl would have been dead now or, at least, have lost a leg."


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