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Cape Town - Visitors to beaches in the Jeffreys Bay area were advised not to enter the water at the weekend after a shark killed a snorkeller on Friday. Officials will assess today whether to lift this advisory.
Burgert van der Westhuizen, 74, was killed while snorkelling at Lookout Point.
The main beaches affected have been in Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay.
Kouga Municipality spokeswoman Laura-Leigh Randall said the authorities, including members of the municipality, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and the police, would decide whether to allow people back into the water.
Jeffreys Bay resident Paul van Jaarsveld said on Sunday that some surfers had returned to the water.
“Obviously we’re all traumatised, but some are back… Some guys are saying they’ll never go back again.”
Van Jaarsveld said on Friday he had planned to go spearfishing in the area where Van der Westhuizen had been attacked, but was delayed by 30 minutes because he had to service his speargun.
“Technically I was supposed to be in the water at that time (of the attack),” he said.
At the beach he had noticed “a commotion” and realised what had happened.
Van Jaarsveld said that he had often seen Van der Westhuizen swim at open water events.
He said whenever he went free diving, he would see sharks, except great whites.
“I went diving every day for three days before the attack. It was interesting that the fish seemed skittish,” Van Jaarsveld said.
NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said when members arrived at the scene on Friday, the remains of Van der Westhuizen’s body had been recovered from the water.
On Sunday a friend, Alison Kühl, said she had visited Van der Westhuizen’s home, but she had not been able to speak to his wife as she was under sedation.
She said the close-knit community was in shock.
“We just loved him. He was a man of the beach and the sea,” Kühl said.
On his Facebook page, Van der Westhuizen had posted a number of photographs of the beach.
“I am an open-water swimmer and find rowing gives me overall fitness and stamina,” one of his posts said.
Another post said: “Hi a beautiful day. Had a 3K swim in the Marina was awsome, best way to start the day!!”