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Shark Attacks South Africa 2012

Updated on January 9, 2013

This is a diary of all shark attacks to take place in South African waters in the year 2012.

Every year, around 60 - 80 people are injured in shark attacks, and the warm waters off South Africa are home to some of the oceans' most dangerous sharks.

The top 3 most deadly sharks in the world - the great white, tiger and bull sharks - are all present in both the Indian Ocean to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, off the South African coastline.

While it has often been said that man is not their favorite food, that doesn't seem to stop the odd shark from having a bite at us.

Sadly, that one bite, when delivered by one of the above named sharks, is often fatal.

Both the great white and the tiger shark can kill us almost accidentally while have a 'test nibble', perhaps to find out if we are edible. Their idea of a nibble can easily result in one of us losing a limb.

Bull sharks, on the other hand, seem to just want to eat anything that moves!

The geography of the South African coast results in warm, shallow waters topped by towering waves which are just perfect for surfers.

This results in more people entering the waters to take part in watersports.

The more people who enter shark infested waters, the more shark attacks we can expect to see, and in fact statistics show that shark attacks are rising in proportion with the increased population entering the seas, which, let's face it, is the shark's domain.

Here we will look at the shark attacks which have taken place in South African waters during the year 2012.

South Africa shark attack areas
South Africa shark attack areas | Source

Shark Attacks South Africa

Reported shark attacks
fatal shark attacks

*FATAL* On December 25, 2012, the infamous Second Beach at Port St. John's, in the Eastern Cape Province, saw its second fatal shark attack of the year.

The death of 20 year old Liya Sibili (while swimming) brings the total deaths by shark attack at Port St. John's to 7 in 7 years.

Every single shark attack at this beach has proved fatal.

A tiger shark is believed to be responsible.

Jacques Mostert

On the 6th of July, 29 year old Jacques Mostert was surfing with friends at Sandstrand (Sand Beach), Jongensfontein, near Stilbaai , South Africa, when he became aware of a large shark circling him.

The shark was described as being between 4 and 4.5 metres long, and it suddenly lunged for him, taking two bites out of his left leg.

Thanks to his quick-thinking friends he was hurriedly assisted out of the water, and given emergency first aid to stop further blood loss, on the beach by a passing paramedic.

He was then airlifted to hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.

the moment a rescuer reached Mr Msungubana after he had been attacked by a bull shark
the moment a rescuer reached Mr Msungubana after he had been attacked by a bull shark | Source

Lungisani Msungubana

On the 15th of January, 2012, 25 year old Zimbabwean Lungisani Msungubana was swimming in the warm Indian Ocean waters off Second Beach, Port St John's in the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

It was a beautiful warm and sunny day, and the water was filled with people, bathing in the shallow, warm but cloudy waters.

The giant Umzimvubu River winds its way into the ocean off to one side of Second Beach, depositing silt in the bay, cloudying the water.

Bull sharks live in both sea and salt water, and so pass through the bay on their way up or downriver.

Lungisani Msungubana was swimming in waist-deep waters with his surfboard when he was attacked by what is believed to be a bull shark, also known as a Zambesi or Nicaraguan shark.

Bull sharks are vicious and powerful creatures that, unlike other dangerous sharks, attack again and again, even when it should be obvious to them that their intended victim is not a seal or one of its usual snacks.

They are sometimes referred to a the pitbulls of the sea, for this reason.

Mr Msungubana fought the shark off with his fists and his surfboard for a full 5 minutes, according to onlookers, while the sea turned red around him.

Eventually the shark left, allowing other swimmers, who had left the water quickly when the alarm was raised, to return and rescue him.

It was too late.

On the shore, an off duty doctor who was present helped paramedics fight to save his life, but his injuries were too great and he died from blood loss, after suffering "multiple traumatic lacerations to his torso, arms and legs".

This was the first shark attack of 2012 worldwide, and the sixth fatal shark attack at Second Beach in less than six years.

In fact, every single shark attack at Second Beach, Port St. John's, South Africa, in the past 6 years has been fatal, earning it the reputation as the most lethal beach for shark attacks in the world.

David Lilienfeld
David Lilienfeld | Source

David Lilienfeld

On the 19th of April, 2012, David Lilienfield, a 20 year old champion surfer was bodyboarding with his brother in the warm Indian Ocean waters off Kogel bay (also known as Cool Bay), described as a surfer's paradise, just a 45 minute drive east of Cape Town.

According to other surfers in the area, those warm waters around Kogel Bay are best for bodyboarding. Surfing from an area known as Caves to another called Paranoia Point has been described as being one of the most sublime experiences in the world.

Experienced South African surfers know of the dangers of man-eating sharks. They know in surf in pairs or groups, to avoid river mouths in spate, to stay away from cloudy waters if at all possible and to stay out of the water when yellowtail fish are massing which is sure to attract sharks.

But still, along comes a shark that defies all the rules the surfers set themselves for safety.

In David's case, it was a massive 16ft great white shark. It approached rapidly from below and tore off his right leg from the hip, causing massive blood loss and almost instantaneous death.

He'd been with his 18 year old brother Gustav and some friends, not swimming alone away from the group (which is always a dangerous thing to do in shark-infested waters).

Th deep water was crystal clear, and the whole tragic event was witnessed by several people high up on the hillside above the Bay.

The onlookers had seen the shark approach the group of surfers in the water, and shouted words of warning, but they were too far away to be heard.

The shark was seen to circle Afrikaan David Lilienfeld, before attacking him.

It actually attacked twice, with David fighting it off with his surfboard while screaming for help. Then the sea turned red with blood and David disappeared underwater with the shark, his surfboard resurfacing alone a few minutes later.

Shortly afterwards, David's lifeless body was washed up on nearby rocks.

Our deepest condolences here at Sharkfacts go to Dr Lilienfield and his family.


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    • sharkfacts profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      Good for you - it'll keep you fit. Keep safe! Statistically, you are more likely to be struck by lightening than bitten by a shark.

    • liswilliams profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      Hey Sharkfacts, yep sharks have put a lot of peeps here off surfing and swimming, but there are attacks all over the world, and although I haven't conqured my fear,it's not going to keep me from surfing :)

      Have s great day!

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      8 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Have a look at my article on Nahoon Reef, I have swum and paddle skied thers for over 40 years. The roads are much more dangerous!

    • sharkfacts profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      I see you are from South Africa. Beautiful beaches but there is no way I'd go swimming or surfing in them!

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      8 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Interresting Article.

    • sharkfacts profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the link, and I have no doubt that regular shark chumming has changed shark behaviour patterns. Google alerts sent me this link yesterday - which seems to prove this to be the case. Having watched an episode or two of Shark Men, I applaud what these guys are doing, because with tagged sharks, we can all learn so much more about the migratory habits of the great white, which could result in the saving of lives in the future. Having seen the sharks flinch each time they had blood samples withdrawn, this will possibly start teaching sharks to fear humans despite the chumming. The shark that attacked David Lilienfeld was not tagged, else it would have been tracked and his leg recovered. If the film crew had not been there, chumming for diving would have been blamed, and had no chumming taken place, there would have been no-one to blame and it all put down to one of the dangers of taking part in watersports in shark infested waters. But I do agree, chumming has to be stopped. It's humans demanding instant gratification as usual, instead of waiting and taking their chances (of seeing a shark).

    • liswilliams profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      What caused the attack?, we wouldn't have to deal with shark-infested waters if it were not for the huge amount of chumming that goes on.


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