Monday, January 16, 2012

Second Beach in Port St Johns: South African authorities have indefinitively shut down the world's most dangerous beach for shark attacks

South African authorities have indefinitively shut down the world's most dangerous beach for shark attacks after naming a man who was fatally mauled.

Lungisani Msungubana, 25, died while swimming off the notorious strip on Sunday afternoon while swimming with a group of friends in shallow water.

Second Beach in Port St Johns, a town on the country's southeastern coast, when the attack took place.

John Costello, local station commander for the National Sea Rescue Institute, said he sustained "multiple traumatic lacerations to his torso, arms and legs" where the shark bit him repeatedly.

His death marks the sixth in just over five years at the beach, making it the most dangerous in the world for fatal shark attacks. In South Africa, one in five attacks by the ocean predators ends in the death but every single attack at Second Beach has proved fatal.

Zambezi or bull sharks, known as the "pitbulls of the ocean" for their ferocity, have been blamed for most of the incidents. Experts from the nearby Natal Sharks Board have been brought in to investigate the phenomenon and the town authorities have closed the beach to swimmers.

Pictures taken on Sunday show lifeguards wading nervously into the sea to pull the badly-injured Mr Msungubana to safety. They placed him on a surfboard to bring him to shore where, Mr Costello said, he was treated by a doctor who had been on the beach before paramedics arrived.

"At the clinic medical staff declared the man dead after all efforts to save him had been exhausted," he added.

Witnesses told how they watched in horror as the shark approached Mr Msungubana who, perhaps mindful of the risk, was only waist-deep in the water.

Eyewitness Cebo Mafuna told that he was bodysurfing close to the shore when he saw the creature's fin.

"It was about a foot high but it didn't look like a big shark," he said.

"When it came up out of the water, I saw it open its mouth and saw its teeth. It turned the guy on his side and went for him. He tried to fight it off with his arm but it kept attacking."

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said "brave" Mr Msungubana fought with the shark for a "good five minutes".

"His injuries were severe, but while he was fighting for his life, he was shouting for others to get out of the water," he added. more