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Oz surfer has lucky escape

World

Sydney - Two popular Sydney beaches were closed Sunday after a surfer told lifeguards that a shark had knocked him off his board and left a 30-centimetre gash in the polyurethane.

Dee Why and Long Reef beaches were shut after off-duty lifeguard Danny Sheather, 23, raised the shark alarm.

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140110 CONDOLENCES have started pouring in for the family of a tourist killed by a shark on Tuesday and at the same time a review detailing his attack has been compiled. The review is expected to be released within a few days. Lloyd Skinner, 37, an engineer from Harare, Zimbabwe, and a UCT MBA graduate, was killed in front of a number of beach-goers two days ago while swimming at Fish Hoek. On Skinner’s Facebook account yesterday a friend, Gayle Reid, said: “Devastated by the news about Lloyd Skinner, taken by a shark on Fish Hoek beach yesterday, such a wonderful guy, so so sorry, love to his family.” Another friend, Cheryl Diane Nicholls, wrote: “My dear Skinner family, so sad and crushed, my love and thoughts and prayers are with you all.” Clint Skinner, a relative, replied that the wishes and thoughts were “all we needed”. He said relatives, including Skinner’s parents, John and Maggie, were flying to Cape Town. Skinner’s Facebook account said he was in a relationship with Debra Paine. A woman was at the beach at the time of the attack, but The Mercury was unable to confirm her identity yesterday. She was receiving trauma counselling yesterday. Gregg Oelofse, head of the city’s environmental policy and strategy, said he had last night completed a review, based on information from witnesses, rescuers and others, on Tuesday’s attack. He said it would be made public possibly by tomorrow. Oelofse and Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde extended their condolences to Skinner’s family. Ian Klopper, the National Sea Rescue Institute’s helicopter duty commander, said an intense search was underway to try to find Skinner’s body. He said a number of people had called in to say they had seen body parts in the water, but rescuers had not found |anything. “We don’t expect to find anything,” Klopper said. Klopper said Tuesday’s attack was “very out of character” as sharks usually bit their prey only once. However, in Skinner’s case the shark, according to witnesses, went for him twice |and then pulled him away with it. Klopper said there had been four shark sightings in the Fish Hoek area early yesterday. The City of Cape Town yesterday issued warnings to bathers, saying they should remain in shallow water, and should not swim alone.

“I got a wave, paddled in and got up and I was going along and felt this almighty hit from the bottom,” Sheather told local news agency AAP. “Then I turned over and there's this big chunk out of my board.”

Helicopters were sent out to shoo a shark out to sea.

“The shark was about 2.5 metres long and was inside the breaking waves close to shore,” a helicopter spokesman said. “It was swimming in circles between two rips right where the surfer was hit by something.”

Last week at Diamond Head Beach, 366 kilometres north of Sydney, a 29-year-old surfer had his finger bitten off by a shark and also sustained a large gash to the leg.

Australia has recorded an average of one fatal shark attack a year in the 50 years that proper records have been kept. - Sapa-dpa

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