Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Giant shark eats swimmer in False Bay, live on Twitter...


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 jtresfon

jtresfon

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:36 PM

The movement of great white sharks in False Bay is by now a relatively well documented and studied fact. Alison Koch of Save Our Seas has been tagging the sharks with transmitters and tracking their movements over the past few years. I attended a presentation of hers a year or so ago and after having tagged over 85 great whites at that stage, she had enough data to show their seasonal movements. The quick summary is as follows: From January to May the sharks disappear from the bay, and nobody is really sure where they go. From June to September they are all gathered around Seal Island to co-incide with the seal pups learning to swim (this is peak season for shark tourism and cage diving). And most importantly as far as the general public is concerned, from October to Jan the sharks move inshore and patrol almost the entire length of the False Bay coastline. This is generally the time when surfers and paddlers have most encounters with these animals.

This research has resulted in the establishment of a shark spotters program, in which previously unemployed persons are trained in shark spotting and identification. These people then sit on top of mountains with binoculars and a flag system. In the event of a shark arriving at a popular swimming beach a certain flag is flown and then lifeguards on the beach will call everyone out of the water if neccessary. (Obviously the system works best when the water is clean). The system has worked well in the past and logbooks of sightiongs kept by the spotters have contributed enourmously to our knowledge of the sharks distribution patterns.

After an increase in sightings over the previous several days a warning to bathers and other sea users was issued by the city's disaster risk management spokesperson at Fish Hoek Beach in False Bay on Tuesday morning. Just a few hours later what was described by eye-witnesses as a giant shark swam up to a bather in chest deep water, bit him and then let him go. The shark then turned back, grabbed the rest of him and swam off under the water. A search was conducted by several boats and a helicopter, but neither the man nor the shark has been found to date. Unfortunately in this case the shark was not seen by the spotters before the attack occured. The man's girlfriend was sitting on the beach and is currently receiving trauma counselling.

What was interesting about this case from a technology point of view is that eye witnesses were logging their observations on Twitter as the attacked happened. The authorities were being interviewed on the radio and television and commenting that there was no information to be had at that point, while at the same time numerous eye-witness accounts of the attack were appearing on Twitter and Facebook. "Holy shit, we just saw a GIGANTIC shark eat what looked like a person right in front of our house in fishhoek. Unbelievable," wrote False Bay surfer and K Bay local Gregg Coppen in the first of a flurry of tweets from his home overloooking Fish Hoek main beach. "That shark was huge. Like dinosaur huge".

Now of course the media circus has started up in earnest. Newspapers are selling like hotcakes and all the "experts" are voicing their opinions. Cage-diving and chumming is vilified and the surfers and paddlers (of which I am also one) start protesting against shark tourism, saying that it conditions great whites to human interactions. To be honest I have never supported the cage diving industry and while the authorities and researchers are quick to say that chumming does not result in increased shark attacks and behaviour modification, I'm not so sure. I guess it's one of those personal decisions, but I'm sure it's of little consolation to the victim or his girlfriend.

http://http://www.wa...on-twitter.html

http://http://www.io...21242947C866442

http://http://www.io...43352270C856589

Regards
Jean.

Edited by jtresfon, 12 January 2010 - 10:50 PM.


#2 WanderingBob

WanderingBob

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 234 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:47 PM

I guess it's one of those personal decisions, but I'm sure it's of little consolation to the victim or his girlfriend.

http://http://www.wa...on-twitter.html

http://http://www.io...21242947C866442

http://http://www.io...43352270C856589

Regards
Jean.


Sad story. Was unable to open any of the above links?
Nurse Bob on
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
http://www.facebook....8...64&ref=name



#3 jtresfon

jtresfon

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 12 January 2010 - 10:51 PM

Sorry, my fault... have fixed the links.

#4 Mike L

Mike L

    Tiger Shark

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 601 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Newport Beach, California

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:04 AM

Very sad indeed.
Mike Luzansky
H2O Photo Pros Underwater Photo & Video THE Underwater Imaging Headquarters
Gates Underwater Video Housings The Ultimate Gates Underwater Housing Resource
Nauticam Underwater Housings The Nauticam Underwater Housing Headquarters!
Marine Visions The Choice for Underwater Professionals

#5 Autopsea

Autopsea

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 269 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:47 AM

Shark feeding / chuming definitivly have to be done far from beach and surfers, especially when large-sized sharks are around.
there should be area reserved for feeding/chuming and others for people. This is what is done in French Polynesia for exemple, and it works well so far, but not involving great white or bulls.

hope there won't be any stupid shark hunt.

#6 rubywolff

rubywolff

    Brine Shrimp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 13 January 2010 - 02:09 AM

People in False Bay area are aware of the Sharks in the area. It is sad that a loved one is now lost but I guess it is a Risk and decision taken when you decide to share the waters with Sharks.
Thankgoodness Greatwhites are protected here in South Africa so there will not be a Shark hunt. They are beautiful creatures.

This is an isloted incident the last great white attack of this nature was on a 78 year old women in 2007. She was swiming about 50m off shore.

Thoughts and prayers to the family it is a horrible thing to happen.

Let this not be an attack on Sharks that kill only a few ppl a year. We don't walk around Kruger park with Lions @ the end of the day.

#7 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:07 AM

Let this not be an attack on Sharks that kill only a few ppl a year. We don't walk around Kruger park with Lions @ the end of the day.

Probably a fair analogy.
Jean is there data on when most shark attacks occur in False Bay, and is it this time of year as one would expect? Has January - May been shown to be a 'safe' time as one would expect? Though of course it's January now.

Edited by loftus, 13 January 2010 - 04:08 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#8 Travy

Travy

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Location:Cape Town and Asia
  • Interests:Canon 7D,Inon Z220,Sony DSR 400P,Aquacam Futura Pro

Posted 13 January 2010 - 05:18 AM

Probably a fair analogy.
Jean is there data on when most shark attacks occur in False Bay, and is it this time of year as one would expect? Has January - May been shown to be a 'safe' time as one would expect? Though of course it's January now.


There have been a few fatal shark attacks on lifesavers up the coast close to KZN recently,earlier on in the year.The risk of shark attack in Cape Town increases when you have the white shark population moving in shore and an influx of bathers enjoying the summer weather.That could account for white shark attacks happening down in the Cape at this period of the year.I say white shark because this is most often the case,many attacks happen in False Bay.Other than the white shark,a ragged tooth took to a crayfish diver some years ago and partially decloved him as he tried the push it away.Im not away of other species attcking a bather this far down south.
On that note,spent the morning shooting a follow up on the yesterday's attack.Spent some time on Boyes Drive with the Shark Spotters and Ian Klopper (Emergency Medical Services)as he directed the boats doing a sweep for the body.There was some shark activity this morning in Fish Hoek and all the beaches along that stretch remain closed.I did a feature on the Shark Spotters program last year and i was very impressed by them, but of course,nothing is 100% safe.Today the water was very calm and flat,good visibility and no wind.It's a pity it was'nt like that yesterday.So sad
Canon 7D,Nauticam NA 7D housing,Inon Z220s strobes,Canon 60mm macro,Tokina 10-17mm
Sony DSR 400P,Panasonic DVX 100B,Futura Pro Housing,Macbook Pro i5 (FCP,Aperture&Lightroom)

#9 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:32 PM

Julie Andersen of Shark Savers asked me to post this for her:

Sharks could really use your help.

As I am sure you know, a tourist was killed by a shark in Cape Town yesterday at a beach with no nets. In fact, none of Cape Town has nets - and they have managed to balance public concern for years through awareness, education, a lot of hard work, and the Shark Spotters. The incident occurred at a Shark Spotter beach, though the black flag was flying (meaning the Shark Spotters indicated to the public it was a “enter at your risk” day - there was not enough visibility for them to monitor the water.) Unfortunately, this ends an over four year “no incident’ record Shark Spotters were holding - there had not been an incident since they started.

This could not come at a worse time. SA is currently planning for a large upcoming influx of tourism into the country and focus thanks to the World Cup (and though sharks are now listed on the “Big 7” we know they have no issues killing them as proven by the Natal Sharks Board every day). And it is coming at a time where there have been a few highly (though erroneously) publicized incidents in the country - the anti-shark sentiment was already getting stronger. Additionally, the no nets battle becomes harder and harder each time there is an accident in Cape Town, of course. It was placated over four years ago by Shark Spotters - who do an incredible job. And, we all know if sharks wanted to eat us, with the high number of water users in Cape Town, a lot more accidents would occur. In 2007, of the 601,133 deaths in South Africa, two were from sharks. Compare that to 6,153 deaths from vehicular accidents, 5,648 deaths due to assault and 49,722 deaths due to influenza and pneumonia, and there are far more rational things to be worried about.

I know I don’t need to tell you we need to keep nets out of Cape Town. Not to mention all the other issues I could list off that Durban has suffered thanks to the archaic fishing devices, it would be absolutely disastrous for a protected and threatened species: the White. Please circulate this link and ask people to vote on the bottom: http://www.news24.com

We really need to get noisy on the various news sites and in the press. Sadly at times like these, though tragic, it is very difficult to have a rational discussion and help people understand the true facts. People just start looking for the easiest “silver bullet” solution to calm their often irrational fears and spew all sorts of their misinformed, fear-driven sentiment. Which is what seems to resonate and get the most press. ^_^

If you could champion this a bit, it would really help. Of course, please put it in your own words. If you need any more information or facts, do let me know; of course I have plenty - but I imagine you all do as well. (And if you hear anyone jump on the “No cage diving” band wagon, they really ought to read the scientific study, Effects on Ecotourism on the White Sharks Behavior)

Thanks for your help.
Julie

--
Julie Andersen
Founder & Director, Shark Savers - http://www.sharksavers.org
Shark Angel - http://www.sharkangels.com


eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#10 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10643 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 13 January 2010 - 10:44 PM

As Julie says, FIFA world cup will be coming around but fortunately it will be in the Winter where the waters around the Cape are freezing and will minimize bathers. I think the potential of violent crimes will be higher with the football hooligans from the UK and other countries plus the state of poverty in the Capetown area.
I do wish the stats would include total number of people actually swimming in the sea as that is the real comparison. The Laroche/Kock study on the False Bay white sharks is much more limited in scope due to the limited number of operators (3-4 I think) around Seal Island and the light traffic (not year round and high frequency) and the study only lasted 3 months in one year. They even cautioned against the preciseness of the study. No published study has been done on Gansbaai and the Dyer Island area which has much higher traffic.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#11 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:14 PM

I do wish the stats would include total number of people actually swimming in the sea as that is the real comparison.


Agreed. I hate statistics that don't take exposure into account.
eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#12 scubaseven

scubaseven

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 176 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia
  • Interests:Diving, computers, cycling, swimming, movies and music.

Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:31 AM

I do wish the stats would include total number of people actually swimming in the sea per year as that is the real comparison.


At a guess it must be at least 100,000,000 people in the water in any one year.
So if ten people are taken by sharks, then its only a one in ten million chance.
Pretty damn low.
Hope is never lost, but often given up.

#13 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10643 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:01 AM

Well that's a simplistic way of looking at it. I'd much rather have the number of bathers at the beach (Fish Hoek, Bondi etc) where the encounters occur. Let's remember that the bigger sharks which could take down a human being aren't everywhere (no thanks to overfishing). But the point of releasing stats is to give an accurate idea of the chances of being bitten by sharks in those waters, not to fudge the stats to champion causes (almost everyone is guilty of this one!) and give unrealistic comparisons.
For example the 2 killed in the 2nd beach of Port St John's in the Transkei in 2009, which is a very small beach which probably much fewer than 30,000 bathers a year. There've been 3 deaths in the last 3 years. Suddenly the stats on the beach look a lot different than the overall world count. And the point is it's a real stat which should be considered. Surfing and body surfing on that beach is just higher exposure to the risk of an encounter with a shark.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#14 Autopsea

Autopsea

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 269 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 January 2010 - 03:10 AM

Would like that stats of :

1/ the chances you have to "meet" a shark when swiming in a precise location, and
2/ the chances there is the shark will attack you when you've meet him.

then, of course we must decompose it location by location, worldwide statistics are rarelly revelant.

#15 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 14 January 2010 - 04:07 AM

Hard to find good published stats by actual beach, time of year, type of injury or if fatal, type of encounter - swimmer, surfer, diver, etc,
This would be valuable, actionable data that everyone could use honestly to assess risk.
Being specific about place is important - for example locally we have a very high incidence of shark bites of surfers off a northern part of the beach at New Smyrna Beach. This is just south of the inlet. However immediately North of the inlet on Ponce Inlet Beach there are very few, probably due to currents, an intervening jetty etc.
DAN does a good job with diving accidents, something similar for sharks would be good for everyone, trying to put some objectivity into the data.

Edited by loftus, 14 January 2010 - 04:09 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.