Would you get back in the water after a shark attack? Sure‚ says advocate after chilling encounter at Plettenberg Bay

20 December 2016 - 12:13 By Tmg Digital

Ben Swart remembers paddling across glassy water while dolphins played nearby. It was a serene morning until “all hell broke loose”.

A curious shark was attracted to surf-skis used by three friends – Ronald Pronk‚ former Comrades Marathon winner Nick Bester and Swart, at Plettenberg Bay.
A curious shark was attracted to surf-skis used by three friends – Ronald Pronk‚ former Comrades Marathon winner Nick Bester and Swart, at Plettenberg Bay.
Image: NSRI/Twitter

“Even before I landed in the water I knew that it was a great white attack‚” said the advocate from Pretoria who had a chilling encounter with a shark at Plettenberg Bay on Monday.

It could have happened to anyone in the water. But the curious shark was attracted to surf-skis used by three friends – Ronald Pronk‚ former Comrades Marathon winner Nick Bester and Swart.

“It was a serene morning‚ glassy water‚ hardly any wind‚ dolphins playing around‚” Swart explained on Tuesday in an interview with CapeTalk radio.

“Just after seven o’clock‚ all hell broke loose. I was paddling and the next minute I heard this crushing noise and simultaneously I was airborne and I saw splinters flying.”

He was tossed into the air‚ like a seal hit by a shark from below the surface. Floating in the water‚ behind the breaker line off-shore of Keurbooms Lagoon‚ he decided not to excite the shark by swimming away.

National Sea Rescue Institute Plettenberg Bay station commander Marc Rodgers explained earlier how Swart clambered aboard his surf-ski which had a gaping hole where the shark had bitten the craft.

The trio were rescued and brought ashore unscathed.

Swart said he was surprised that a shark estimated to be four metres in length was willing to attack his surf-ski which is nearly seven metres long. “It shows you how ferocious they are‚” he said.

He believes the attack was a case of mistaken identity‚ the shark was targeting the paddle-ski.

Will he get back in the water? “There is no doubt I will be back … this is a freak incident .… I’ll certainly be back‚ probably tomorrow‚” he said‚ adding that he was getting a replacement paddle-ski.

– TMG Digital

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