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03/28/2005 Chris Sullivan (South Africa)
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:09 am
British surfer survives shark attack
By Georgina Littlejohn, Metro
29 March 2005
A British surfer was mauled by a shark just hours after arriving for a holiday in South Africa, the latest victim in a spate of similar attacks.
Chris Sullivan, 32, was bitten on the right leg and foot by a 4m great white shark as he surfed off the coast near Cape Town.
He kicked and punched the creature and managed to wrench his leg from its jaws.
Despite his injuries, Mr Sullivan managed to paddle 500m to the shore, where a doctor gave him first aid. The PE teacher from Newquay in Cornwall needed 200 stitches to his leg.
Rescue commander Chris Mortimer, whose staff airlifted Mr Sullivan to hospital, said: 'He was very, very lucky. Generally, you don't walk away from a great white attack.'
The drama followed two other attacks on Britons, both blamed on a great white.
Mark Currie, 32, from Barrow-in-Furness, had the shock of his life when a shark 'came from nowhere' as he was being lowered into the sea in a metal marine observation platform.
He escaped injury but a colleague on board his boat captured the experience on a camcorder.
The footage showed the shark had a chunk of its dorsal fin missing, as did a shark which lunged at another group of Britons.
Mark Gibson, Carl Allan and Graham Clarke, all 35 and from Newcastle, were on a boat trip to a spot known as Shark Alley.
They were also being lowered into the sea in a cage when the shark tried to sink its teeth into the metal bars.
Mr Gibson said: 'We all thought our number was up. We were all hanging on for dear life. It was just like something from Jaws. We were not injured but we were really shaken up.'
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:11 am
Surfer from Lothian tells of shock at shark attack
A SURFING fanatic has told of his deep shock after seeing his best friend attacked by a great white shark.
Finance worker Keith Lawson, 34, from North Berwick, was enjoying the first surf of his South African holiday when the four-metre shark lunged at Chris Sullivan, who was best man at Mr LawsonÂ’s wedding.
The pair were in the water off Noordhoek beach on the Atlantic coast of South Africa when the shark attacked Mr Sullivan, 32.
He fought back, kicking and punching the shark before yanking his right leg free of its jaws and making his escape.
Four hours of surgery and 200 stitches later, Mr Sullivan was told by rescuers he had very lucky to survive - he came away with multiple bite wounds to his leg and foot.
But Katherine Lawson, 30, who Mr Lawson married in November, said her husband had been deeply shocked and subdued by the accident. After speaking to her husband by telephone, she said: "It is not something you ever expect to hear. I was shocked but delighted he was OK."
But far from being put off surfing by his ordeal, she said the Standard Life credit risk consultant, who works in Edinburgh, had already taken to the waves again.
"I canÂ’t say IÂ’m surprised. If he wants to go, it is what he wants to do and no-one can stop him.
He told me not to worry and he was now using a longboard and keeping his toes tucked in. Apparently that was supposed to make me feel a lot better," she said.
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:10 am
'Mum will kill me if I surf again': Shark attack survivor
30/03/2005 - 14:29:01
Between laughter and tears, a British schoolteacher today recalled in vivid detail how he punched and kicked a shark that sliced into his leg.
Chris Sullivan was surfing with friends on Monday, his first day of a two-week South African holiday, when Â“this big ugly fishÂ” Â– believed to be a Great White shark about 13 feet long Â– attacked him.
Â“It felt like it came up slow and I saw its eyes and it looked really dark grey,Â” said Sullivan, sitting in a wheelchair at the Cape Town clinic where he is recovering from injuries to the right calf, which needed 200 stitches.
Â“It turned and I saw the underneath of its belly. Then I saw its mouth. Then it grabbed hold of my leg. I started lashing out, hitting it. I think I kicked it,Â” said Mr Sullivan, his voice breaking.
Â“ItÂ’s probably in a bad way now,Â” he added, shaking off his tears with a wry laugh.
Â“I pulled the leg out. It felt like a knife through butter and I thought Â’oops,Â”Â’ said the 32-year-old Leeds man, who has travelled the world in pursuit of his surfing passion.
Sullivan said he managed to stay on his surf board and catch a small wave which took him back to the shore where a local vet Â– who had also been in the waves Â– applied an emergency tourniquet to his leg.
Clive Mortimer, the local station commander of the National Sea Rescue Institute, said that Sullivan was Â”extremely luckyÂ”, to have escaped alive.
Sullivan dismissed suggestions that sharks deemed to be a threat should be culled.
Â“I havenÂ’t got a problem with the shark,Â” he said. Â“I was in its water and I was stupid enough to go surfing where there was a lot of sharks.Â”
Â“I donÂ’t think it meant to eat me. I think it just fancied a nibble,Â” he said, adding that he was convinced the shark mistook him for a seal and realised its mistake once it tasted the surfboard and wet suit.
The attack at Nordhoek Â– a stunning stretch of beach about 20 12 miles from Cape Town Â– occurred at the same point where a bodyboarder was killed 18 months ago.
A Great White bit off the leg of a teenage surfer one year ago at nearby Muizenberg, and a 77-year-old swimmer, Tyna Webb, was eaten by a Great White in nearby Fish Hoek last October.
The man who helped treat Sullivan on the beach was WebbÂ’s son-in-law.
Despite the spate of attacks, rescue authorities said there was no evidence that sharks posed a greater threat to humans than in the past.
Ian Klopper, with the National Sea Rescue Institute, said that the rate of attacks had not increased in parallel with the rise in the number of surfers and other sea users. He said there was no scientific evidence that the growth in tourist attractions such as the use of cages to lower people in the water to get close to sharks had made the fish more aggressive.
The Indian Ocean resort of Durban uses nets to keep sharks at bay. However, authorities have so far ruled this out as expensive and impracticable in Cape Town, because of strong winds that would likely dislodge the nets.
Sullivan said he was trying to face up to his nightmares.
He said that every time he closed his eyes during the night after the attack, he saw the shark.
Â“In my dreams I wasnÂ’t winning the battle. It was biting me in two,Â” he said with a faltering voice.
Last night, he followed the advice of his counsellor and forced himself to confront the shark in his nightmares.
Â“Every time it came at me, I hit it,Â” he said. Â“It was a grim night and I woke up with lots of sweats. But now itÂ’s fading and every time it comes at me now, I donÂ’t have to hit it any more. It looks at me with some respect and swims away.Â”
Sullivan said that upon his release from hospital, he and his friends would continue with their holiday Â– and visit tourist sites such as Cape TownÂ’s famous Table Mountain Â– neglected in the past because of his obsession with the waves.
But he said the attack had caused he and his girlfriend, Barbara Robinson, to reconsider plans to buy a house in Cape Town and settle down here. Instead, he said that they would be happy to continue living in Cornwall, even though the waves there Â“are a bit rubbish compared to hereÂ”.
Â“I donÂ’t think IÂ’ll go surfing again in South Africa because if I donÂ’t get bitten by a shark, my Mum will kill me anyway.Â”
Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:10 am
Great white shark attacks surfer
There has been a fatal attack in the same area before
A British surfer has survived an attack by a great white shark off the coast of South Africa.
Chris Sullivan from Newquay, Cornwall, was bitten on his right calf and foot at Noordhoek beach on Monday.
The 32-year-old had arrived in Cape Town on Sunday for a surfing holiday with two British friends.
Mr Sullivan has undergone surgery on his leg wounds and is reported to be in a stable condition. He is likely to remain in hospital for several days.
It is the second attack on a British holidaymaker in the region in the past four days.
On Saturday Mark Currie, 32, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was inside a metal viewing cage in the sea near Cape Town, when an 18ft Great White suddenly attacked it.
He managed to scramble on board the tour boat while the captain beat the shark on the head.
He's a very lucky man
Mark Sampson, friend
Since the latest attack, beaches in the area have remained open, although people have been told of the attack.
The South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) launched a rescue boat when the attack was reported and Mr Sullivan was flown by emergency helicopter to the Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic.
Mark Sampson, who has lived in South Africa for 13 years and is originally from Newquay, said his friend Mr Sullivan had received surgery.
"Everything's fine," he said. "They managed to put his leg back together and everyone's very happy.
"He's a very lucky man."
Spokesman Craig Lambinon told BBC News the attack happened about 60 metres offshore.
He says such incidents are not really common, with five reported attacks in the past two-and-a-half years. Three of those were fatal and one happened in the same place as Mr Sullivan's accident.
Mr Lambinon said the decision to keep beaches open is not an easy one to make.
He said: "We do ask people to be vigilant, but it's difficult and we can't force people not to go into the water.
"After the attack this morning, people were alerted. Some left the water and some preferred to stay."