Cape Town - A teenage University of Cape Town student has lost his leg in a shark attack – the second time in less than 24 hours that a UCT student has survived a shark encounter.
Saturday’s attack on Caleb Swanepoel, 19, was in Buffels Bay, near Sedgefield, and on Friday, UCT student Dylan Reddering, 23, survived a similar attack in Plettenberg Bay.
Swanepoel was surfing when the shark bit his right leg just above the knee. Surfers rushed to help him and pulled him out of the water.
The attack on Swanepoel came as Reddering was recovering in hospital with a deep gash on his right hip and buttocks
Knysna Trip Out Surf School owner Donavon Smith said on Saturday: “Some of the instructors raised the alarm after they spotted Swanepoel and two surfers ‘splashing hectically’.”
Smith said the great white shark had apparently circled the three surfers twice before attacking.
“His brothers swam out with him and then we helped get him out of the water. Blood was dripping on the sand and then we saw his leg was gone. One of my guys quickly tied a tourniquet around his leg to help stop the bleeding. You could see the teeth marks came over both his legs.
“It’s a clean bite. They said the shark was quite big - around 2m to 3m,” said Smith.
“The quick response actually saved his life.”
Smith said the injured surfer had been “positive” while they kept talking to him and tried to keep his body warm to prevent him from going into shock.
“He’s quite a strong lad. We just kept him alert the whole time and saw that he didn’t pass out. We then put him on a surfboard while we waited for the paramedics to arrive,” said Smith.
The NSRI medical team and emergency rescue staff from ER24 and EMS responded. NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said the incident occurred about 2.30pm.
A doctor, Dee Richmond, and her husband also provided medical assistance to Swanepoel.
Swanepoel was on holiday in the town with his parents.
Lambinon said the shark bite had left Swanepoel with a “complete amputation of his right leg above the knee” and he also had bite wounds on his left leg.
After paramedics arrived, Swanepoel was airlifted to the George Medi-Clinic.
EMS spokesman Robert Daniels told the Weekend Argus late last night that Swanepoel was in a stable condition.
Reddering, 23, was bitten by a great white shark while surfing in Plettenberg Bay.
He was attacked just after 5pm, while surfing at Lookout Beach.
The NSRI said while they believed a “great white shark” was involved in both attacks, the bite marks on both students would be studied to confirm the type of shark.
Authorities have warned beachgoers to stay out of the sea in both areas until they are given the all-clear.