Sunday, March 23, 2014

South Africa: Austrian Tourist, 72, Killed by Shark at Second Beach in Port St. John's

According to The Telegraph, an Austrian tourist, 72, has become the latest victim of a fatal shark attack at the world's deadliest beach in South Africa. 

The unidentified victim was swimming as part of a group of tourists at Second Beach in Port St. John's when the shark struck at 1500 hours on Saturday (March 22).

Tragically, the fatality was the eighth person to be killed at the beach in five years. The average fatality rate for shark attacks in South Africa is one in five but in Port St. Johns, all but one shark attack has resulted in death since the rise in attacks began in January 2007. 

Worldwide, no single other state or country has notched up the same number of deadly shark attacks as Second Beach in the past decade. 

Most of the attacks have been blamed on Zambezi or bull sharks, also known as the "pitbulls of the ocean" for their habit of biting and shaking to cause catastrophic injuries.

COMMENT: The last person to fall victim was Fundile Nodumla, 39, from nearby Mthatha, in March 2013. He fought off the shark and was pulled out of the water by passersby with injuries to both arms, his chest and stomach.  

The previous victim, Liya Sibili, 22, died on Christmas Day 2012 after being taken by a shark in waist-deep water. Only his bathing trunks were recovered despite a three-day search for his body. 

Even before the latest shark attack victim was pulled from the water, swimmers were going back into the water. 

As a matter of interest, see the link below from TRAVEL AND LEISURE concerning those beaches in the world that have the highest rate of shark attacks: 

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worst-beaches-for-shark-attacks/4 

Below are some suggestions as to how to avoid encounters with sharks:

1. Don't swim at beaches where there are no lifeguards;

2. Research beaches you plan to visit, open your browser and search under: 

"name of beach+shark attacks" 

3. Ask first responders and/or lifeguards as to whether the beach you're visiting has observed a presence of sharks;

4. Avoid ocean water within two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset;

5. Never swim alone: Always have a buddy; and

6. Avoid fishing in a kayak in ocean water.