Black Out Silent Shark Alarm

29 Sep

Anyway they put it, if you warned there is a danger no matter what, head the warning. I did lifesaving for 12 years along the false bay coast and many times came close to the ultimate shark encounter. Summer is approaching, make sure you swim between the flags, swim along side others and not out in the open and listen for sirens or whistles.Parents do not take your eyes off your children, things happen with a wink of the eye especially in the deep blue. Awareness is the key. Remember we are entering the sharks domain not they ours.

An Eskom power blackout in Cape Town prevented a shark spotter at Fish Hoek from sounding a warning alarm before a man was attacked by a great white shark, the City of Cape Town said on Thursday.

“At around 12.25pm (on Wednesday), the mountain shark spotter saw a swimmer enter the water near the Clovelly Corner area,” the City of Cape Town said in a report on the incident.

“The spotter tried to sound the alarm, but due to an Eskom-related city-wide electricity failure, the alarm did not sound.”

Eskom said it was not aware of the City of Cape Town’s report and could not immediately comment.

Michael Cohen, a 43-year-old British man, was in a stable condition in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday afternoon.

According to National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon his right leg was bitten off, as was part of his left leg below the knee.

He said shark spotters had warned Cohen not to enter the water because three sharks had been seen.

“We were told repeatedly by the shark spotters on the scene that they physically told him (Cohen) not to enter the water,” said Lambinon.

This was not the first time Cohen had ignored the beach spotters’ warnings, he said.

“They have spoken to him on previous occasions as well, but he still goes and swims.”

The power outage in Cape Town lasted from just before 11am to just after 1pm, said Eskom spokeswoman Hillary Joffe. The power failure was caused by a trip on the line supplying Cape Town.

The city said spotters first sighted two great white sharks after 9am on Wednesday.

The alarm was sounded, the beach was closed and the white flag was raised.

Once the sharks had moved back out of the bay, the red warning flag was raised as per standard safety protocol.

At 10.50am shark spotters sighted two great white sharks for a second time in Fish Hoek Bay.

The shark siren was again sounded, the beach was cleared of swimmers and the shark flag was raised.

The city said the spotter notified his colleague on the beach, as well as shark spotting operations manager Monwabisi Sikweyiya by radio when Cohen entered the water.

The beach spotter ran toward Clovelly Corner to warn Cohen, while Sikweyiya drove there.

Shortly after 12.25pm a witness, Kyle James, 16, saw a large shark “casually and slowly” approach Cohen, who was swimming parallel to the beach in a southerly direction, near the brown water coming from the Silvermine River mouth.

The shark approached him from behind. Cohen appeared unaware of the shark’s presence.

“The shark lunged for the swimmer, shook him once, then let go and moved off five to 10 metres away,” the city said.

Lambinon said Cohen was pulled out of the water by “two humble good Samaritans”, Douglas Drysdale, 61, of Glencairn Heights, and Hugh Till, 66, of Fish Hoek.

The men had been returning from Pollsmoor Prison, where they are voluntary spiritual guidance counsellors. They usually looked out for whales while rounding Clovelly Corner on Main Road on their way back.

They saw Cohen swimming about 25 metres out to sea in the direction of Fish Hoek, when a dark shape appeared about 30 metres in front of him.

“As the dark shape grew closer to the swimmer, the two men realised it was a shark,” Lambinon said.

The men drove into the car park and ran onto the beach. Cohen was by then struggling, the sea around him red with blood.

“Without hesitation, the two men kicked off their shoes, plunged into the water and waded through the surf to reach the injured swimmer,” Lambinon said.

“Douglas had called the emergency services before plunging into the water himself.”

Till grabbed Cohen by the hand. Drysdale grabbed Till and dragged them shorewards.

At the scene Sikweyiya removed his belt and applied it as a tourniquet. He elevated Cohen’s leg and removed his shorts, which he used to stem the bleeding.

Cohen was stabilised before being taken by helicopter to hospital in Constantiaberg.

On Thursday, Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic spokeswoman Faye Kariem said Cohen had lost a lot of blood, but according his doctor “was doing well”.

“He is in a stable condition. He was in a critical condition. He lost a lot of blood. Seven litres, according to his doctor. According to his doctor, he is doing well.”

The city said Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, St James and Muizenberg remained closed to bathers on Thursday. By 11am two shark sightings had been reported at Fish Hoek, while another was reported at Muizenberg

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Have your Say


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