News just in from the Cape Argus newspaper. It's the awful reality that, as well as bringing tragedy to friends and family, also helps explain why sharks are being so ruthlessly fished to extinction (see recent Sharkwater post). However important they are to the foodchain, and thereby to the health of the oceans and the planet, the monster-from-the-deep cliché is there for a reason. It's said that soda dispensing machines kill more people every year than sharks, but that doesn't make it any easier to deny the horror that we all harbor, and that tragically manifested itself this weekend in South Africa.RIP, Gerhard.

By Leila Samodien

A surfer had his lower leg bitten off by a shark while surfing at Glentana Bay in the Southern Cape on Saturday, and died later in hospital.

Gerhard van Zyl, 25, a Mossel Bay local, was surfing with a friend at the small seaside village when he was attacked.

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon said they were called out around 3.30pm, soon after the attack.'We found him on the beach and treated him for amputation' Van Zyl's lower right leg had been bitten almost completely off.

When authorities arrived, a friend had pulled him out of the water, and had helped to tie a tourniquet around his injured leg.

Lambinon said NSRI volunteers, ER24 paramedic services, Netcare 911, the police, Metro ambulance and rescue services and a Red Cross AMS helicopter had been called to the beach.

"We found him on the beach and treated him for amputation to his right leg," said Lambinon. "He was airlifted to a hospital in George and when he got there, was declared to be in a critical condition. He was later declared dead."

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