902 A crime scene expert takes pictures of the scene on 7th street in Linden where 3 men tried to hijack a woman after a chase with the police that started in Robindale. 190208. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - A well-known shark expert has been airlifted to a Sandton hospital after he was involved in a car crash in Mozambique that claimed his girlfriend’s life.

Mike Rutzen, of Cape Town, arrived at the Sandton Mediclinic yesterday after he was airlifted from Inhambane in Mozambique to Lanseria Airport.

He is in a serious condition.

A family friend, JP Botha, said Rutzen had suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs after his car rolled on Monday afternoon.

“We don't know what caused the accident, but his vehicle was the only one involved,” Botha added.

Rutzen’s Italian girlfriend Elisabetta Castella died at the scene, according to Botha.

The couple were on holiday.

Rutzen, whose nickname is Shark Man, is known for swimming with great white sharks outside a diving cage.

He has been the subject of a number of documentaries and recently had his own television show on the Discovery Channel, called Sharkman.

He also appeared on the History Channel’s show, Stan Lee’s Superhumans, in an episode called Shark Master. Rutzen is known for creating awareness of shark conservation through his work.

The Star