A tourist enjoying a swim yesterday off of Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town, South Africa, was suddenly pulled under the surf and dragged out to sea by what onlookers have called a "dinosaur-sized shark," according to several media reports.
Iafrica said there is little chance of finding the tourist, 37-year-old Lloyd Skinner of Zimbabwe.
National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Ian Klopper said, "The shark attacked him three times. It didn't bite him and let him go." But then, "It came back and carried on eating" the victim.
Skinner was said to have been about 328 feet from the shore, alone and farther out than other swimmers, when the attack happened. Witnesses say he was about chest deep in warm water, adjusting his goggles, when he was pulled under at 3 PM on Tuesday. A search for his remains continues today, although an ominous patch of blood was visible, and Skinner's swimming goggles have been recovered.
While the shark has not yet been identified, most suspect it was a great white, based on its size, the way it swam toward the victim and the fact that other great whites have been spotted near the beach in recent days.
British visitor Phyllis McCartain told the Cape Times newspaper, "We saw the shark come back twice. It had the man's body in
its mouth, and his arm was in the air. Then the sea was full of blood."
Normally sirens go off at the South African beach, warning the swimmers, surfers and bathers to get out of the water when a shark is spotted. But it is my understanding that no warning preceded Skinner's attack. Word has been out in the local community, however, that the waters off the beach have been unsafe for a while.
Many locals say they will continue to go in the water, since the chance of being attacked by a shark of any kind is still relatively slim.
According to the International Shark Attack File, from 1990 to 2008 there were 9 fatalities due to shark attack in the waters off of South Africa. Seventy-eight non-fatal attacks also occurred in the region over the same period.
Tips on how to avoid becoming one of these statistics are posted here.