Burgert van der Westhuizen, 74, was killed by a shark while swimming off The Point – the lower section of the long world famous surfing point – at Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was as an experienced open-water swimmer who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffrey’s Bay, according to press reports.
An eyewitness who paddled out in his 5-metre ski to try to retrieve the body said the shark was longer than his ski and kept returning to take bites from the remaining torso. His legs had been severed. He was unable to retrieve the body as the shark eventually took the remains and dived with it.
The sea rescue service said they later found the remains of the body.
The eyewitness said he had just paddled past him when he saw “the shark come and hit him out the water. Right out the water.”
However, this is not clear as further into his account he says someone on the beach told him there had been a shark attack, when he says he paddled out to where the body was and the shark was circling it and taking bites. He then wanted to try lift the torso onto his ski, but the shark grabbed it and dived, which is when he saw the size of the shark. “It was at least five meters. My ski is 5 meters and it was longer than my ski. I thought ‘no this is not good’ and paddled in.”
You can see a video of his witness account here (interspersed with Afrikaans language news commentary).
It was not reported what type of shark it was.