Shark alert issued for Plettenberg Bay coastline

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A shark alert has been issued for the Plettenberg Bay coastline due to increased shark activity.

INCREASED SHARK ACTIVITY HAS BEEN NOTICED ALONG COASTLINE

 The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson, Craig Lambinon said increased shark activity has been noticed along the Plettenberg Bay coastline, and caution is advised.

“This is a reminder that sharks are known to feed inshore along the coastline at this time of year,” he said.

The NSRI and the Bitou Municipality are advising the public to exercise caution.

Lambinon also warned the public about the presence of a white shark in the Keurbooms River.

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UNUSUAL SHARK SPOTTED IN KEURBOOM RIVER

“The Plettenberg Bay duty crew, on a routine exercise, came across a white shark in the Keurbooms River about 300 metres upstream.” 

He said the shark is approximately 3.5 metres in length and was spotted about halfway between the river mouth and the N2 bridge.

Lambinon said it was unusual to find a shark in the river itself, with a marine scientist at the South African Shark Incident Committee suspecting that the shark may be ill or disorientated.

“The warning is a precaution to alert the public of the presence of a shark in the Keurbooms River.” 

WHAT DO TO IN A SHARK ATTACK? 

On the highly unlikely chance, you come face-to-nose with a shark, shark expert and former Australian Navy clearance diver Paul de Gelder has some tips that may improve your chances of survival. 

FIVE TIPS FOR SURVIVING A SHARK ATTACK 

  1. DON’T PANIC AROUND A SHARK.

If you’re in the water and find yourself suddenly in the company of a shark, instinct will tell you to relocate immediately. Resist that urge. “When you see a predator, you want to get away as fast as possible,” de Gelder says. “But then you’re far more likely to get bitten.” Panicking will put a shark in predatory mode. Remember: Just because a shark is around doesn’t mean you’re automatically on the menu. “When we do swims with sharks, nine out of 10 people will say, ‘I didn’t feel threatened. I didn’t feel like the shark wanted to attack me. It was just curious.’ Hold on to that. It will keep you calm.

2. TRY TO MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH THE SHARK.

Like dogs, sharks respect assertiveness. “The best thing to do is confront a shark,” de Gelder says. “Not with aggression. Stay calm. Keep your eyes on it. Show them you’re a predator, as well.” If a shark approaches, you can push them away. You don’t want to start a fight you’re likely to lose, but you may avoid one by letting the shark know you’re not docile

3. IF A SHARK ATTACKS, FIGHT BACK.

The unfortunate reality of a shark attack is that if one does decide you might be food, you don’t have much say in the matter. Even a test bite, where the shark may give you an inquisitive nibble, can cause grievous injury. And if it’s a full-bore assault, you’re in all kinds of trouble. “‘When the shark grabbed me, I felt pressure,” de Gelder says of his own attack. “But I didn’t feel the teeth go in. I didn’t feel any pain until it started shaking me and ripping me apart.”

Still, doing something is better than nothing. De Gelder advises to “go wild,” punching and attacking the shark however you can. The eyes, nose, and gills are all good targets. “Anything that shows the shark, you won’t take it,” he says. “Maybe you’ll get out.” Having a weapon on hand is even better. You can use a knife and aim for the gills or underside of the shark, but don’t try stabbing the top. “You won’t be able to penetrate it,” he said.

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4. IF A SHARK HAS BITTEN YOUR ARM, KEEP IT OVER YOUR HEAD.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a shark lose interest, swim as fast as you’re able to shore or safety. If you have an arm wound, make sure you keep it raised above your heart. “Keeping it above your heart will stem the bleeding,” de Gelder says. After losing his hand to the shark that attacked him, de Gelder had the presence of mind to raise his arm, which may have contributed to his survival.

5. WHATEVER YOU DO, TRY NOT TO LOOK AT THE WOUND.

Humans are no match for sharks, and the wounds the animals inflict can be devastating. One thing de Gelder was careful not to do was looking at his severely damaged leg. “I thought that if I didn’t look at the wound, I wouldn’t go into shock,” he says. “It’s kind of like when a little kid cuts his finger. He doesn’t start crying until he sees blood. I knew there was something wrong with my leg, but I didn’t know what. I knew it might be horrific. I didn’t focus on it.”

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