Shark attacks earlier than usual in Cape Town
A British swimmer, who refused to heed warnings about the presence of sharks, was attacked by a Great White Shark off Fish Heok at the end of September. He was saved after two local men, Hugh Till and Douglas Drysdale, managed to separate the shark from regular Fish Hoek swimmer Michael Cohen, but not before the shark had bitten off his right leg.
Professional shark watchers had warned Cohen for years about swimming in danger areas when the presence of sharks was known.
Over the last couple of months there have been a spate of shark sightings and a number of attacks in the Cape Town area. The city issued swimmers with shark warnings and drew attention to the seasonal increase in the presence of Great White Sharks around in-shore areas along the Western Cape.
Shark sightings occur most commonly between late August and March, peaking in mid-summer, however this year there were early sightings in mid-August off the southern Cape Town coast at Muizenberg, St James and Clovelly.
Some commentators blame the increasing shark attacks on the phenomenon of cage diving, which has recently developed as a money-making tourist attraction in South Africa. On 23 August a 49-year-old surfer died after being attacked by an unknown breed of shark in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape.