We speak to shark vic­tim’s part­ner

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN BAM­FORD

DE­BRA PAINE, part­ner of Lloyd Skin­ner, the man taken by a great white shark at Fish Hoek ear­lier this week, had just ar­rived at the beach to fetch him when she saw the com­mo­tion.

Life­guard Fred Wa­gen­vo­orde was in the tower around 3pm on Tues­day.

“I saw the fin about 3m away. I ran down shout­ing ‘ shark, shark’.”

Wa­gen­vo­orde said Paine had come up to him to ask what had hap­pened.

“She had come down to the beach to look for him. I told her there had been a shark at­tack and she said she was looking for her hus­band.

“We had his gear – his shorts, shirt, towel, slip-slops and the box from his gog­gles – which she iden­ti­fied.”

Wa­gen­vo­orde said Paine had started to shake when she re­alised the im­pli­ca­tions.

Paine told Week­end Ar­gus yes­ter­day that she was cop­ing “un­der the cir­cum­stances”.

Skin­ner’s fam­ily will make a state­ment at the week­end.

Yes­ter­day Wa­gen­vo­orde was back on duty, de­spite night­mares af­ter see­ing the at­tack.

Mean­while shark re­searcher Ali­son Kock, of the Save our Seas Foun­da­tion, said the shark that killed the Zim­bab­wean was prob­a­bly hunt­ing a large school of fish nearby. A com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors had prob­a­bly con­trib­uted to the at­tack.

She said Skin­ner, 37, was at least 100m out – deeper than any of the 12 to 15 bathers in the wa­ter at the time – and there was a big school of fish near him at the time.

“The wa­ter was also very warm and bait fish love those con­di­tions, so the shark was likely in hunt­ing mode. Great whites fol­low their prey.”

Kock said Skin­ner was swim­ming at the time of the at­tack – not stand­ing as pre­vi­ously re­ported. Af­ter the first strike, the shark made a fur­ther five or six passes be­fore mov­ing off to­wards Kalk Bay.

The City of Cape Town has said the at­tack on Skin­ner, an en­gi­neer from Harare and a UCT MBA grad­u­ate, could not have been avoided.

“All in­di­ca­tions are that the shark emerged from deep wa­ter, where it was not vis­i­ble, and at­tacked the vic­tim within sec­onds,” it said in a state­ment.

Skin­ner’s par­ents flew into the city from Zim­babwe soon af­ter the at­tack.

On Thurs­day, life guards dashed down to Clovelly from Fish Hoek beach to alert a body boarder that a shark was 500m from him, head­ing for him.

The man had missed hear- ing three shark alarms.

At Fish Hoek yes­ter­day, few swim­mers braved the wa­ter.

One, Vin­cent Fred­er­icks, said he wasn’t wor­ried about sharks – but his girl­friend Heidi Ern­stzen scanned the wa­ter with binoc­u­lars from the cat­walk while he swam.

Fred­er­icks, from Muizen­berg, said he swam at Fish Hoek al­most daily.

“If a shark must take me I’d go with him. I even told the car guard if I don’t come back he can have my car.”

Fol­low­ing the at­tack, the city has rec­om­mended:

Mak­ing shark in­for­ma­tion signs more prom­i­nent.

Erect­ing ex­tra tem­po­rary signs when lots of great whites are about.

More emer­gency train­ing for its shark-spot­ting staff.

Per­ma­nent signs be­tween the Gal­ley Restau­rant and Jag­ger’s Walk, in­di­cat­ing that sharks make swim­ming un­safe.

Ad­vis­ing surfers and kayak­ers to use per­sonal shark shields.


FA­TAL AT­TACK: Shark re­searcher Ali­son Kock on Jag­ger’s Walk in Fish Hoek, in line with the point where Lloyd Skin­ner was at­tacked this week.

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