Saturday, November 17, 2007

!4 year old surfer escapes a Great White shark attack but now without injuries

Experts suspect the attack on a teenage surfer at Strand beach was by a Great White shark.Andrew Smith, 14, was lying on his surfboard "quite far out to sea" when he saw the shark's "massive head" only as it was biting his feet and dragging him off his board.On Thursday, the city's representatives on the White Shark Working Group said initial information on the bite marks on Smith's feet suggested a "small Great White" had bitten the teenager. The information would be sent to the Natal Sharks Board, which would confirm the species.

'The whole thing was as big as my father'Smith, lying in bed at the Vergelegen Medi-Clinic with his feet heavily bandaged, calmly related how he had been lying on his surfboard late on Wednesday when he felt something grab his feet."It was biting my feet and dragging me. I started kicking and managed to get free," he said.

"I paddled a little and someone else helped me. I got on their back and they carried me to shore. "I saw the shark's head. The whole thing was as big as my father (about 1,8 metres tall)." Gavin Venter, a doctor, treated Smith at the scene and took him to hospital.Smith has a number of small lacerations and deep cuts to his feet and two tendons in his left foot have been severed.His wetsuit has holes in it from the shark's teeth and Smith says the fin of his surfboard was bitten off.

In hospital on Thursday he had a surprise visit from Sergio Capri, 50, who was attacked by a Great White shark at Koeel Bay eight years ago and lay in the same hospital bed and ward.Capri showed Smith the scars on his right leg and back where he had been bitten in the severe attack."I suffered serious blood loss. I was hitting the shark while it was hanging onto my side.

"But you'll get back in the water quickly," he told Smith before giving him advice on how to care for his wounds.Smith, who had several surfing magazines on the table beside his bed, said he would go back into the sea when he had recovered."I like surfing in Jeffrey's Bay and Elands Bay best. I will go back in the water again," he said.On Thursday, the White Shark Working Group dispatched a number of shark spotters to Strand beach to tell bathers about the shark attack.The National Sea Rescue Institute appealed to swimmers to exercise extreme caution.


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