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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Fatal shark attack in Fish Hoek

Great White shark
A man was killed on Tuesday after an attack by a Great White shark in Fish Hoek, outside Cape Town. I became aware of the attack after reading a message on Twitter, the social network: "Holy sh*t. We just saw a gigantic shark eat what looked like a person in front of our house ... That shark was huge. Like dinosaur huge". The message was posted by a resident in Fish Hoek who witnessed the attack from his home.

The giant shark attacked at an approximate two metre depth, which is considered rather shallow. There was an official warning issued earlier in the day by Cape Town's risk management centre since several sharks were spotted in the surrounding area. The beaches around the Cape Peninsula were closed after the incident but re-opened today after authorities were satisfied.

The last fatal shark attack at Fish Hoek was five years ago. Even though shark attacks are statistically quite uncommon, one should always be alert considering you're in their territory while swimming.

Here's a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of being attacked by a shark
  • Swim in groups
  • Use beaches where lifesavers and shark spotters are used
  • Stay on the landward side of wavebreakers
  • Don't go in more than waist-deep
  • Stay out of the water if mammals like whales or dolphins are spotted close to the beach
  • Stay out if fishermen with trawl nets are operating in the area

More safety tips: How to prevent a shark attack and what to do if it happens

Related links
Shark attack in water two-metres deep

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