Surfer dies after Great White shark bite

A 49 year-old surfer died today after being bitten by a suspected Great White shark on his upper left leg and around his groin area.

NSRI Plettenberg Bay volunteer duty crew were activated this morning after  a surfer was bitten by a shark at Lookout Beach, Keurbooms River Mouth, while surfing. NSRI volunteer duty crew launched two sea rescue craft and volunteer NSRI rescue swimmers plus the NSRI station doctor, the SAP, Guardmed Ambulance Service and the Tsitsikamma Ambulance Service responded to the scene.

Lookout Beach, Keurbooms River Mouth, Plettenberg Bay where the horrific shark attack on Tim van Heerden occurred this morning 23 August 2011. Photo: NSRI H/O

“On arrival the male surfer, Tim van Heerden, was found on the beach,” the NSRI press release this afternoon said. “He had been removed from the water by fellow surfers in a critical condition and resuscitation efforts commenced. The man was transported to a local hospital by ambulance while resuscitation efforts,  including cardio pulmonary resuscitation, continued.

“All efforts to save the man’s life failed and he was declared dead in hospital. The family of the man were informed and have respectfully declined to speak to the media.”

Eye-witness accounts report the species of shark involved was a Great White shark about 2m in length.  An investigation to confirm this will be conducted by the Shark Working Group.

Witnesses also report that van Heerden lost a lot blood from the bite. At the time of the shark attack he was in the surf with five other surfers. When he saw the shark he yelled out a warning. But then the shark attacked him and pulled him under the waves.

NSRI  has  advised bathers and surfers to abstain from entering the sea in the Plettenberg Bay area although no formal law enforcement measures will be deployed to enforce no bathing or no surfing. It will be up to individuals to decide if they want to enter the sea.

“The last shark incident to occur in Plettenberg Bay was 13 years ago and it was not fatal. To our knowledge this is the only fatal shark incident in Plett’s history,” the NSRI release added.

Surfers from St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay have extended their condolences to Tim van Heerden’s family

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