Help a brother out: Shark fund set up for Chintsa East shark attack survivor
Last Friday (22 July) at around noon, the always dreaded news of a shark attack rippled across the country. Chintsa local Denver Struwig was bitten three times by a Zambezi while surfing with his friends out at his local break in clean water and during clear skies.
Thanks to the quick response by friends, community members and the emergency services, Denver received the right treatment at the right time. He was extremely lucky to have survived the ordeal considering the amount of times the shark returned, but not so lucky with the huge medical bill to cover these costs. He has the scars and the hospital bill, but no medical aid.
Eric Harris, a member of Friends of Chintsa, a non-profit organisation in Chintsa East, is heading up the fundraising campaign to assist Denver with his medical costs which have amounted to close to R35k (original costs were looking between R40k - R50K, but the hospital has graciously agreed to lower these costs). Friends of Chintsa is a non-profit organisation in Chintsa East. They host a number of community projects including a development surf programme. They hosted a weekend with development surfers from Port St Johns, Coffee Bay and Knysna 2 weeks ago. They are properly accounted and perfect to host this fund.
The organisation are hosting a fundraising buffet and raffle for Denver at the Country Bumpkin restaurant where all proceeds will be going to the Denver Struhwig Shark fund. Anyone interested in attending the fundraiser please contact: 043 738 5523 or email email@example.com
. Donations towards this fund are also welcomed and can be deposited into the following account:
Friends of Chintsa
Nedbank, Vincent, Current Account
Acc No 1206076925
Branch 120621 (00)
Sort Code: 12-06-21
Swift (IBAN): NEDSZAJJ
Please reference donations as 'Denver'
They will also have a donations portal up at http://www.givengain.com
by tomorrow under Friends of Chintsa and then 'Denver Struwig Shark Fund'.
Friends of Chintsa would also like it to be known that any money raised over the R35k target for Denver's costs will then be pooled in a shark attack fund that will be available in the unfortunate case of another attack.
Below is the actual play-by-play account given by an eye witness of the attack:
The Chintsa local crew were all out by 8:30 am. It was a sunny clear day with some good 3-4 foot right hand waves coming through in the corner of the bay. There were about 10 people out, a good crowd for Chintsa.
After surfing for a few hours most of the crowd left leaving three guys, Denver Struwig, Eric Harris and Murray Elliott (Murray had a shark Pod on his board) in the water. Kristy Struwig, Denver’s wife of three weeks and their friend Tyerell Jordaan were waiting on the beach for Denver to finish up and he was talking about getting a last wave in with Eric and Murray joking about staying a while and having it all to themselves.
It was about 11:00am when the low tide rip set in at the corner messing up the wave and Murray was first to move the 70 or so meters to the next peak while Eric and Denver stayed in the corner hoping for a last good one. After watching a good set go through near Murray they decided to move across with Eric about 5 – 10 metres ahead of Denver. Denver suddenly started yelling in fright and a when Eric looked back he saw what looked like two dolphins surface next to him, exposing itself as a 3m+ bull shark as it brushed past. Denver sat up on his board trying to turn around and face the shark, which moved away approximately 5m before turning to attack him.
Eric initially paddled towards Denver hoping to help but stopped approximately 3 metres away as the attack proper started, unsure what to do. Murray watched the attack from 30-40 metres away, horrified but also waiting to help. After the initial hit in which the shark bit Denver on his leg and foot it paused for a split second before taking him on the shoulder and chest; swimming him to the seabed and pinning him to the sand while thrashing wildly. Eric and Murray estimated that Denver was underwater for about 15-20 seconds, although it felt forever and they were sure that they had lost Denver.
The shark then let Denver go and was not seen again (until the next day when it was seen in the surf by local residents). Denver was floating on the surface and Eric and Murray converged on him, collecting his board on the way. It took about 30 seconds for the guys to get to Denver. They got him on his board and the three of them worked their way back to the beach, Denver did great to stay on his board! They never saw the shark again and may have been protected by Murray’s Shark Pod.
On the beach Tyerell and Kristi had witnessed the attack and initiated a call to the ambulance. Tyerell also ran up to the nearby Buccaneers Backpackers, alerted Sean Price, collected a trauma kit and called Madeleine Muller, a local GP who rushed to the scene. Sean co-ordinated and followed up on the EMS response.
On the beach Eric, Murray and Kristi checked for major bleeding and dressed his injuries with towels borrowed from other beach goers. Mark, a local fisherman brought his Land Rover onto the beach and, after they were sure he had no major bleeding Denver was transported up to the parking lot where first Dr Muller and then the paramedics could assess him. Denver received a bad wound on his right shin, a deep laceration on his inner thigh, which narrowly missed the femoral artery. He had a laceration and row of puncture wounds on his abdomen just below the ribs and a laceration on his left shoulder just above his shoulder blade. Under the circumstances a lucky outcome!
The attack happened on a clear sunny day, mid morning in clean, warm water. There were no dolphins, seabirds or any other signs of activity.
The response of Alderson ambulance, St Dominic’s and Life Hospital in East London, as well as the medical practitioners was superb! They have all done their best to minimize the cost, offering discounts despite the 5-star treatment.
Denver would like to thank the Chintsa Community and local surfers for their help and support. The Chintsa family have been incredible in coming together in support of Denver. Many meals, well wishes and even a wheelchair have been provided. It’s a good place to be when you need a community!
The Chintsa and Surfing community will be hosting a fundraising event to help with Denver’s medical costs. Local restaurants, guesthouses, a marketing company and the surf manufacturers have all joined the drive for funds with direct help and sponsorship http://www.zigzag.co.za/