Teen lucky to escape brush with shark
A young Pretoria teen surfing at Chintsa East beach on Saturday survived an attack by a 1.3m-long ragged-tooth shark.
The incident took place at 8am as Jason Krafft, 15, was surfing with his older brother, Tristan.
Jason said the shark bit him on his left foot as he was waiting for waves.
“We were about 20m off shore when I felt a grip on my left foot. I immediately used my left hand to push hard underneath the water and then jumped onto my board and paddled to safety,” he said, adding that he did not see the shark again.
At first, he did not realise how bad the bite was until he started limping while walking to his clothes and noticed an excessive amount of bleeding.
The shark’s razor-sharp teeth had punctured his skin a few centimetres above his achilles heel and underneath his foot.
“I also realised my fingers were bleeding from punching the water with my hand.”
Jason said the only other surfers at the beach were about 100m away from him at the time.
His father, Pretoria veterinarian Dr Tim Krafft, said he administered first aid to his son when he saw him looking pale.
“I cleaned the wound quite nicely, bandaged him and took him to St Dominics Hospital,” Krafft said.
There the teenager was placed in a wheelchair and received 11 stitches.
“The stitches come out in two weeks,” Jason said, adding the wound was still painful and he was walking with the aid of crutches.
He said the incident had not put him off surfing, although he wouldn’t get a chance to go back into the water as the family was heading home today.
A shark scare was also reported by other surfers in the area at the weekend.
Campers Charlie Claassen, 38, and Maximillian Crozier, 14, and Rhodes Ichthyology Professor Peter Britz, 55, were surfing at Chintsa on Sunday afternoon when Claassen and Crozier saw a shark on the surface a few metres away.
Britz, who had left the water minutes earlier, suspected it could have been a bronze whaler or ragged-tooth shark.
“The water was cold and murky which suits them. A ragged-tooth, which has needle-like teeth for grasping not biting, can mistake a human foot [dangling off a surfboard] for a fish.”
East London surfer Kevin Harris said early in December a great white shark circled in front of his surfboard while out at Nahoon Reef.
“The water was clear and cool. It was snaking and twisting its body looking very excited. It vanished. So did I!”
Harris said a diving friend had described how just a week later, a similarly coloured shark had harassed him and his dive buddy at Three Sisters a few hundred metres off Bonza Bay. — Additional reporting by Mike Loewe.