As reported on www.dispatch.co.za
Horrified onlookers yesterday told how they tried to drag a Wild Coast lifeguard from the jaws of what is believed to have been a tiger shark at a popular beach.
Sikhanyiso Bangilizwe, 27, died from massive injuries minutes after he was savaged in the attack at Second Beach in Port St Johns – the second fatal attack on a lifeguard in two years.
The drama at the scenic beach happened at 2pm when Bangalizwe and another friend went for a swim to cool down from the heat.
Fellow lifeguard Gerald Mtakati told the Daily Dispatch he saw his friend scream and hit the water, before it started turning red with blood.
The lifeguards immediately launched a rubber dinghy into the surf.
“I just saw blood in the water and quickly grabbed a rubber duck. When I got to him, the shark had already bitten off his hand and his lower back, it was coming in for the third bite,” he said.
Mtakati, 32, said Bangilizwe was not moving at this stage. His body was just floating in the water.
“By the time I got to him, he was not moving and the shark was on the other side, heading towards him.
“He was in the centre, between me and shark.”
“I went past him and headed straight towards the shark to distract it from going in for another bite,” said Mtakati.
He said the noise from the engine of the dinghy scared the shark off.
“Sharks don’t like noise so, it eventually left and I went back to him and put his body into the rubber duck.”
“He was already dead and all I could see was just red meat and blood on his body,” said a shocked Mtakati.
“I was not thinking when I went out there, I was acting on instinct. I only realised what I had done afterwards and I started shaking,” he added.
Mtakati said a lot of people on the beach witnessed the terrible ordeal.
Community members from Mthumbane Location where Bangilizwe lived said they were devastated.
“You have no idea how this has affected the community. People cannot believe this has happened. Nobody wants to go to the beach anymore,” said Bangilizwe’s neighbour, Malwanda Nombele, 23, who is also a lifeguard.