Tourist has close shave with shark

Cape Town - A tourist was bitten by a shark during a free shark dive near Cape Town but the incident was dismissed by the shark dive operator as being “not remarkable”.

The Swiss tourist was apparently bitten through his wetsuit by a blue shark but was not seriously injured and able to drive himself to hospital for treatment, reported the Cape Argus.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the man sustained only a “light scratch” and paramedics sent to the scene found that bleeding from the cut had already stopped.

Stephen Swanson, co-owner of Shark Explorers, on Tuesday said the incident had been blown out of proportion.  

“The incident was not remarkable. We merely alerted the NSRI as a matter of protocol. Because we deal with foreign tourists, we have to maintain professional conduct and take all possible precautions.

“The fact is that free diving is an adventure sport, and all adventure sports carry with them a small element of risk.”

During free dives there is no cage and there is a certain amount of contact between blue sharks and divers.

He said blue sharks were “curious” and “non-aggressive”.

The shark had apparently bitten through the diver’s wet suit and scratched the skin.

Free diving is done in False Bay about 32 to 64 kilometres from the coast and dive masters usually accompany groups of about six divers at a time.