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SA vents over shark attack

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shark jan 16

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

South Africans took to social networking site Facebook to vent their anger on Thursday after a man was killed in a shark attack.

South Africans took to social networking site Facebook to vent their anger on Thursday after a man was killed in a shark attack at Kogel Bay, in Cape Town.

US-based documentary maker Chris Fischer, who was in Cape Town filming “Shark Men” for National Geographic, lured sharks to the area by releasing chum (bait) into the ocean.

On the Shark Men Facebook page, South Africans blamed the documentary-makers for the man's death.

“Shame on you! P**s off! So angry, that's my home break where this happened. Hope you, your boat and your life sinks to the deepest parts of the ocean...,” wrote one person.

Another user posted: “Your chumming has just got a kid killed, you were warned but preferred ratings - condolences to the family, RIP.”

Earlier, an eyewitness to the shark attack, surfer Matt Marais, described how a “huge and aggressive” shark seized the body-boarder.

“It was a horror show. It looked like something from the Jaws movie.”

The victim's brother was believed to have been with him in the water when the great white shark, believed to be between four and five metres long, killed him.

The man had been lying on his body-board waiting for a wave to surf when a fin appeared, said Marais.

“I had just got out of the water when I saw the dorsal fin. The shark was huge and aggressive and just went for him, not once but three times.”

Marais said the documentary-makers had released shark bait into the water nearby just five days earlier.

Fischer was granted a research permit to film great white sharks in the Cape.

Initially, the Western Cape environmental affairs department, which granted the permit, said the documentary was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather key research on great white sharks.

However it was cancelled by Biodiversity and Coastal Research director Alan Boyd following news of Thursday's attack.

“This incident is a tremendous tragedy and I'm very shocked. No more field work will be proceeding from here on out.”

When the permit was approved, there were fears that chumming could attract sharks to popular beaches, but Boyd said it would have little effect close to shore.

At the time, Dirk Schmidt, a wildlife photographer and author of “White Sharks”, said it would be prudent for a high shark alert to be issued.

His concern was that up to five tons of chum would be used to attract sharks to the research boat. He said the chum slick could be blown closer to beaches by on-shore winds.

On the Shark Men Facebook page, the attitude towards the show's creators after the attack was one of hostility.

“This is all your fault - don't mess with these sharks unless you are willing to get into the water! You clowns!! Go back to your land of Greed, Insolence and Disrespect!!!” - Sapa


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