A great white shark killed a champion bodyboarder near the coast off Cape Town as horrified spectators watched from shore, powerless to help, South African police said.
David Lilienfeld, 20, was riding waves with his younger brother and a friend just outside Gordons Bay Thursday when a shark lunged at him.
Onlookers who witnessed the attack from the shore say they saw Lilienfeld try to fight the animal off with his board.
“I saw this big dorsal fin, and after that I saw him getting attacked,” surfer Matt Marais, who had gotten out of the water to make a phone call, told the Independent Online.
“Then, the shark turned around and attacked him again. Just before it attacked him, he tried to put his board between him and the shark. He was pushing the shark’s head with his board.
“But within two seconds, the water turned from turquoise to red.”
Lilienfeld’s brother, Gustav, who was in the water near the attack but wasn’t hurt, managed to drag him onto nearby rocks, the Cape Times reported.
A helicopter arrived about 20 minutes later. Lilienfeld, whose right leg was severed below the hip, died at the scene.
“David was a Sprinbok bodyboarder. This was his life, and he died doing what he loved,” Lilienfeld’s father said in a statement issued through police
After the attack, the government canceled a permit allowing a film crew for “Shark Men,” a onetime National Geographic Channel show, to toss fish and blood into the water to attract sharks, a process called chumming.
Nat Geo says they weren’t filming the day of the attack and experts claim the film crews were too far from shore to have caused the attack on Lilienfeld, but his friends have taken to Facebook to complain that chumming is at fault.
So sad. He was so young and only doing what he loved.
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