A swimmer has been killed by a shark while snorkelling off the South African coast, officials confirmed. The man is believed to have been bitten in half by a four-metre long shark while swimming near the popular surfing area of Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape around 11.30am.
The victim has not yet been identified, according to the National Sea Rescue Institute, which manages maritime safety. According to local reports, witnesses said the young male swimmer was near to rocks when the huge shark attacked. It was initially thought two sharks where involved as the distance between the creature’s tail and dorsal fin was so large.
It was later determined to be a single shark, which locals speculate may have been a Great White. According to JBaynews.com, surfer Terry Olivier paddled towards to scene in his kayak and saw the shark taking bites out of the man. Mr Olivier tried to rescue the victim by beating the shark away with his oar.
The NSRI confirmed they and police attended the Indian Ocean scene shortly after 11.30am.
A statement read: “On arrival on-scene remains of a body, believed to be those of an adult male, have been recovered from the water and handed into the care of the Police and the Forensic Pathology Services.
“It appears, according to eye-witness reports, that the as yet unidentified male victim had been snorkelling at the time of the incident.”
Sharks frequent large stretches of South Africa’s eastern and southern coasts, where underwater fences have been erected at popular swimming spots for protection.
Globally, most shark attacks occur in U.S. coastal waters, followed by Australia and South Africa in second and third place respectively, according to the University of Florida’s
International Shark Attack File report. Three people were killed by sharks last year in South Africa, the report said.