Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shark attack took victim by surprise!

LYLE MAASDORP (19) from Glencairn was pumping with adrenaline and stumbling over his words when he told People's Post of how he had survived a frightening encounter with a Great White shark off Sunny Cove on Friday at 16:00.

Maasdorp and a friend, Anthony Pearse, were kayaking near the rocks at Sunny Cove when the shark came out from below his kayak, lifted him out of the water, and took a bite out out of his kayak. He was left in the water, but quickly got into his friend's kayak.

"I am okay, just pumping with energy," Maasdorp said shortly after the attack. "I don't think that what's happened has really sunk in yet."

Maasdorp even managed to touch the shark as it ripped off a piece of his kayak.

He was unharmed in the incident, but the shark destroyed the front of his kayak, puncturing the fibreglass.

The National Sea Rescue Institute in Simon's Town was alerted to the incident just after 16:00 and managed to get other kayakers out of the water.

"By the time we got to the other kayakers, they were unaware of the incident," said Darren Zimmerman, the NSRI's Station Commander.

Law Enforcement officers on Fish Hoek Beach said that there had been poor visibility of the water on Friday. "The water was murky-brown due to changes in wind direction, and therefore it was in effect impossible to sight any sharks," Law Enforcement officer Stuart Murdoch said.

He said that sharks had not been spotted in the bay for months and that the incident had come as a big "surprise". Gregg Oelofse, the City of Cape Town's representative on the multisectoral Shark Working Group, and Allison Kock, a UCT student and researcher with the Shark Research Centre at Iziko Museum, made their way down to the beach on Friday afternoon.

According to Oelofse, the incident was extremely "rare and unexpected" as there had been no sightings of sharks on the coast for seven weeks.

Kock said that the incident could not be linked to the whale beached off Kommetjie. Kock said that if this were the case, the scent or oil of the whale would have had to have its way from Kommetjie to Cape Point, 30 km away, then around the point and back to Fish Hoek, another 20 km away.


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