(This story was published in August 2011)
Lookout Beach in Plettenberg Bay has been closed for swimming and surfing following a fatal shark attack yesterday morning.
Tim Van Heerden and a group of surfers were enjoying good waves that were breaking on the sand bank at the Keurbooms River mouth when Tim was attacked in shallow water.
The shark, believed to be a 2 m Great White, apparently bit Tim several times in his upper thigh and groin, as well as lower down on his leg.
Charles Reitz was watching the waves before paddling out and witnessed the attack.
Interviews by Zig Zag Magazine ,Charles described how he paddled out and rescued Tim and managed to bring the severely wounded surfer back to the beach.
“We’ve been waiting for something to happen. We’ve seen so many sharks, but the waves have been good and the water is shallow, so we thought that they would just kind of leave us alone I guess”, said Charles.
“We’re always so busy surfing these waves that we just don’t think about it. I just happened to be the surfer on hand to do it, to go and fetch him”.
There is a seal colony in Plettenberg Bay and with seals being the natural prey of Great White Sharks, it can be expected that there will be a population of Whites in the area.
A 2 m Great White is regarded as a juvenile and was probably just taking exploratory bites when it attacked Tim. Many larger sharks have been spotted in the Plettenberg Bay area with ocean users describing some as being as big as a bus.
The entire ocean community in South Africa is saddened by the shark attack with tributes and condolences being expressed for Tim from all over the country.