Killer shark ‘inexplicably aggressive’

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IOL  file-shark done AP An expert has determined that an inexplicably aggressive, but not particularly big shark, had killed a 72-year-old Austrian tourist in the Eastern Cape last weekend. File photo: Schalk van Zuydam

Port St Johns - An expert has determined that an inexplicably “aggressive”, but not particularly big shark, had killed a 72-year-old Austrian tourist in the Eastern Cape last weekend.

Police have not yet released the name of the victim.

The man, who was part of a tour group, was attacked at Port St Johns’ Second Beach. Part of his torso and all of his thighs were eaten. His hand had also been ripped off, most likely when he was trying to defend himself. The KZN Sharks Board’s head of research, Geremy Cliff, said he had examined the body at the Lusikisiki mortuary.

The damage inflicted on the body was a clear indication that the shark was highly aggressive, he said.

“In many respects, it is highly unlikely that a shark will inflict this much damage; they usually take one or two bites then swim away.”

While the Sharks Board is yet to finalise its report on the attack, Cliff said they could not rule out the possibility that other sharks had scavenged on the body in the hour that it had been floating before being swept inland close enough for lifeguards to retrieve it.

However, although certain shark species travel in packs, they were generally solitary creatures, so this was not likely, he said.

“My feeling is that it was one shark, and not a particularly big one. We suspect it was a Zambezi, about 2m long.”

Cliff said the abundance of fish for sharks to feed on, played an important role in attracting them to the area but he could not explain why there had been no attacks prior to 2007.

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