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Sharks lured by sewage: 2 lifeguards killed

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 26, 2009 in Environment
A South African lifeguard was killed in an attack by a tiger shark at the popular holiday resort of Port St. Johns This is only the second shark attack in this area - ever. A local historian warns that the heavy sewage runoff attracts the sharks.
The local Daily Dispatch reported on Monday that Sikhanyiso Bangilizwe, 27, died within minutes of the shark attack. He had gone for a swim with a friend at around 14:00.
This is only the second proven shark attack in this popular beach resort area of South Africa, which is located next to the Indian ocean and is an important wetlands estuary. It does not have 'blue flag' accreditation granted by the international tourism industry to clean beaches: and neither do the 22 Indian-ocean beach resorts at Durban, to the north.see
Sharks attracted by human sewage:
Long-time resident and local historian John Costello said Port St Johns had never had sharks until two years ago: "One possible reason for the sudden arrival of sharks is the problem of sewage flowing into the ocean and the lack of toilet facilities around the beach. “If you know sharks then you will know that they have a very good sense of smell, they are attracted by scent or chumming (luring) as it is known.”
“This is the end result of an environmental disaster,” he said.
For background on the South African water-pollution disaster, see here
Costello said the first attack in the area happened two years ago when another lifeguard was attacked and killed by a tiger shark, also at Second Beach. According to a Daily Dispatch report at that time, that had been the first -ever proven shark attack in the area.
Fellow lifeguard Gerald Mtakati, 32, who witnessed the second attack said that he 'just saw blood in the water and quickly grabbed a rubber duck. "When I got to him, the shark had already bitten off Sikhanyiso's hand and his lower back and it was coming in for the third bite," Mtakati said.
"By the time I got to him, he was not moving and the shark was on the other side heading towards him. He was in the centre, between me and shark." The noise of the rubber duck scared the shark off but by that time Bangilizwe had already died. “He was already dead and all I could see was just red meat and blood on his body,” said a shocked Mtakati.
The attack was witnessed by many of the horrified community members from Mthumbane Location where Bangilizwe lived. Now they're all too scared to go back into the water.
Pictures of Bangilizwe’s mutilated body could not be published, but were used to identify the type of shark implicated in the attack: “Looking at the bites (on Bangilizwe’s body) it was a tiger shark,” Buffalo City Municipality chief marine services officer Siani Tinley said.
The lifeguard had massive injuries, with a bite from his right thigh and his back sliced open by the shark’s razor sharp teeth. His right hand was bitten off just above the wrist.
More about Shark Attack, Port johns, Cholera, Ticking time bomb, Indian ocean
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