Two humble good samaritans Douglas, 61, from Glencairn Heights, and Hugh, 66, from Fish Hoek, tell their story. Both men have asked respectfully not to be contacted by the press.
Returning home from work together in one car (returning from Pollsmoor Prison where they are voluntary spiritual guidance counsellors), a regular occurrence, they normally look out for whales as they round Clovelly Corner on Main Road bound for Fish Hoek. Today they saw a man swimming comfortably, about 25 meters out to sea and swimming in the direction of Fish Hoek, but a dark shape loomed in front of the swimmer, about 30 meters from the swimmer, and heading directly at him.
As the dark shape grew closer to the swimmer the 2 men realized it was a shark.
Feeling compelled to warn the swimmer they quickly drove into the car park and raced onto the beach but it was too late, the swimmer was struggling in the water in a pool of blood having been bitten by the shark.
Without hesitation the 2 good samaritans kicked off their shoes and plunged into the water and waded through the surf to reach the injured swimmer. Douglas had called the emergency services before plunging into the water himself.
As they reached the swimmer Hugh grabbed the swimmer by the hand while Douglas grabbed Hugh and he dragged them shorewards.
At this stage bystanders were screaming at the men, who both admit that progress was slow going, that the shark was now headed at them, not 10 meters from them, when a seal appeared and swam between the men and the shark and then kept circling the men appearing (although this will probably never be able to be proved) to be fending off the shark from the rescue effort!
They managed to get the victim safely onto the beach.
As the men reached the beach one of the shark spotters on the beach immediately tied his belt around the stump of the victims amputated right leg as a tourniquet. The 2 good samaritans and other bystanders reassured the victim and another belt, from Douglas, was used as an additional tourniquet.
Rescuers on the scene and eye-witnesses confirmed that a shark remained close to the scene throughout the medical efforts to save the victim and it has been confirmed that a seal was swimming close by during the entire episode and eye-witnesses confirmed that the seal circled the men as they gradually waded ashore with the victim in the ever presence of a shark that remained close by throughout and appeared to be advancing on the rescue effort.
CMR (Cape Medical Response) paramedics Darren Zimmerman (also station commander of NSRI Simonstown) and Kim Yon arrived on-scene first and found the pale and weak patient struggling to breathe with a weak thready pulse and no blood pressure. The patient was fully conscious and the two paramedics applied oxygen and turned the mans body placing his head downhill of the beach in an effort to try to bring up his blood pressure while bilateral intravenous fluid lines were set up in both the mans arms before being joined by further paramedics. The patient had a strong pulse and a blood pressure by the time he was loaded into the air ambulance for transportation to hospital.
The patient remains in a serious condition and is undergoing surgery in theatre.
Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the doctors who are fighting to save his limb.
The NSRI commend the efforts of the two humble good samaritans, Douglas and Hugh, as well as Shark Spotter, Monwabisi Sikweyiya, and the efforts of Darren and Kim and the emergency services today.
Pic: Cape Medical Response