An inflatable fishing boat has survived an attack by a great white shark off Strandfontein.
The boat was anchored two miles out to sea when the shark attacked.
Its crew was fishing for smooth hound sharks, which are preyed upon by great whites.
One of the passengers had just pulled a smooth hound on to the boat when a great white stuck its head out of the water and took hold of the side of the boat. The shark bit down, puncturing the boat, held on and thrashed for over a minute.
The boat, 8m long and 3m wide, was carrying five passengers and its two owners, Kevin Overmeyer and Chad Battle.
Graham Classen, one of the passengers, said: “I was less than an arm’s length away from the shark and all I could see were its giant rows of teeth. When it thrashed back and forth it shook the boat.”
Classen said he was still shaken.
“It was horrific. I thought the boat would sink. A nearby vessel radioed to see if we were going to need to bale.
“It is only because of the owners, Kevin and Chad, that everyone made it back to land. They had the anchor up and us off to safer waters in minutes.”
The attack left a gash about half a metre long as well as a number of the shark’s teeth in the boat’s hull, which workers in Kalk Bay harbour admired on Monday.
Overmeyer and Battle, friends since the age of 13, have owned and operated their tour company, CKAT Coastal Adventures, for four years.
They say this is the first time anything like this has happened.
“We see great whites quite often in this area, but they have never attacked our boat or one of the fish we were pulling up.”
The summer months are when great whites get the closest to fishermen as the seal population is low and they feed on fish.
“The fish come to the warmer water near the coast and the sharks follow,” said Battle.
Classen and Battle said the shark was about 7m long and its teeth were 5-6cm long.