Cape Town great white shark attack: Surfer tossed 3 metres into air

Surfer 'lucky to be alive' after great white shark attack in Cape Town


Surfer in great white shark attack in Cape Town

A surfer is lucky to be alive after a great white shark attack in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday.

Friends described how Matthew Smithers, 20, was thrown three metres into the air by the attack at Muizenberg beach.

Speaking to, onlooker Julian Pringle said: "There was only the board between him and the shark's mouth. His board saved him."

Pringle said the shark was " at least four metres, maybe bigger", and added: "The shark came from below and hit the bottom of the board."

After Smithers had spiralled into the air, the shark attacked, reportedly gashing his legs badly. He then managed to scramble back onto his surfboard.

Pringle and another friend, Brendhan Kannemeyer, swam out to help him, and said the shark was still circling. They managed to drag him back to shore.

Kannemeyer said: "He was totally calm. I tied a leash around him and saw that he had a wound at the back of his knee.

"He had a big piece of flesh about the size of my hand hanging outside his left thigh.

"And then his right knee on the inside has been punctured. It looked awful."

Smithers was taken by helicopter to hospital, where he is in a stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.

Pringle described his survival as a "miracle" and added: "That guy should be dead."

Greg Oelofse, head of environmental policy and strategy for the City of Cape Town, said the shark siren only sounded after the attack took place.

Speaking to Eye Witness News he said: "With that size animal and the force it would apply to a bite, he got away with very minor injuries considering what could have happened."

He added that poor visibility had made it hard for shark spotters to see the great white, and that an investigation was underway.

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