Narrow escape from Great White Shark in Port St Johns

A tour operator in Port St Johns is lucky to be alive after being bitten by a large Great White Shark on Saturday.

Photo: Dirk Schmidt
Photo: Dirk Schmidt

Rob Nettleton had picked up a group of tourists from a local backpackers, for a cruise along the coast on Saturday morning.

The trip was arranged by tour operator 29 year old Mathieu Dasnois, from Cape Town who has lived in Port St Johns for the past year.

Having recently purchased new dive equipment Mathieu, an avid and well known spear fisherman, had asked skipper Rob Nettleton if he could take a quick dip to test his new equipment.

Following a perfect day of sightseeing on the water and now in shallower waters (about 4 meters), at Sugarloaf Rock, Rob agreed that Mathieu could take a quick swim and once he was in the water, Rob moved the boat about 20 meters away.

Mathieu dived, surfaced and dived a second time, when the dorsal fin of a 3.5 to 4 meter White Shark was seen approaching.

The shark grabbed Mathieu’s hands when he tried to fend off the shark and it appeared that the shark went past Mathieu.

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The boat immediately went to Mathieu’s aid but on reaching Mathieu the shark breached from under Mathieu pulling him away from the boat with his foot in its mouth but Mathieu managed to get his foot free and by that stage the boat was again alongside Mathieu.


While attempting to rescue Mathieu the shark breached but this time it appears that the boat hampered the shark’s attack and the people onboard the boat were able to pull Mathieu into the boat.

Once ashore, EC Government Health EMS were on hand to assist and paramedics treated Mathieu’s injuries and transported him to hospital in a stable condition.

Following an operation Mathieu is in high spirits and is on the road to recovery suffering minor lacerations to his hands and right foot.

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