Plett teenager bitten by a shark

At 17h07, Saturday, 29th April, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a person bitten by a shark at The Waves, a popular surf spot at Keurbooms, Plettenberg Bay.

NSRI rescue crew responded directly to the scene, the AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter was placed on alert, Med-Life ambulance services responded and the sea rescue craft Free Runner, Airlink Rescuer and Leonard Smith were launched.  

On arrival on the scene a 14 year old Port Elizabeth male teenager was found already on the beach with bite marks and bite lacerations to his right calf sustained from a shark bite while surfing.

He was treated by NSRI medics and by paramedics on the scene for lacerations and bite marks to his right calf before being transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition where he will receive sutures and although in a stable and satisfactory condition he will be kept in hospital overnight as a normal precaution.

The teenager was on his surf-board surfing. 2 other surfers were also out surfing there at the time.
At the back-line he turned to catch a wave when he saw a fin approaching towards him, he felt a bump and he felt a bite on his right calf.

He caught a wave to the beach where he was met by his dad, who had witnessed the incident, and by bystanders who rendered assistance while raising the alarm.

Shark researchers will investigate to determine the species and size of the shark but initial indications lean towards the bite being made by a White Shark of approximately 2 meters length but this has not been confirmed.

NSRI, in a statement to media, have requested public caution for bathers, paddlers and surfers along the Southern Cape coastline where an increased number of sightings of sharks have been witnessed close in-shore.

Here follows the NSRI media statement from Friday, 28th April….


A number of shark sightings in the Plettenberg Bay area today has highlighted that at this time of the year it is normal for sharks to come close in-shore.

NSRI are urging public caution along the coastline, particularly along the Southern Cape coastline (The Garden Route), between Natures Valley and Mossel Bay, and in particular around the Plettenberg Bay in shore area, due to a high number of White shark sightings.

The increase in shark inshore presence at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals.

Sharks are aggregating in this area at this time, as they have done in previous years, to take advantage of naturally occurring prey like seals and fish close in shore.

In particular a large amount of shark sightings have been recorded close in shore along the Plettenberg Bay coastline.

Most of these shark sightings are in the vicinity of Robberg and this natural phenomenon. With the high number of sightings reported daily it offers a rare opportunity for sightseers to view shark activity close in shore.

NSRI and the Emergency Services are well prepared to deal with any incidents and NSRI carry emergency medical shark kits on rescue boats and on NSRI rescue vehicles and NSRI medics carry emergency medical shark kits in private vehicles in an effort to ensure the quickest response to any incident.

For safety the public are advised:

  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski where, fishing or spear fishing is taking place
  • Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
  • Do not swim if you are bleeding
  • Do not swim near river mouths
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
  • Obey beach officials and lifeguards if told to leave the water
  • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area, consider using another beach for the day
  • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea: please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
  • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
  • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches
  • Do not swim, surf or surfski alone

In a Sea Rescue Emergency along the Plettenberg Bay coastline call the NSRI Plettenberg bay emergency number 0829905975.

The National Emergency number is 112, dialled from a cell phone

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