A Zimbabwean tourist was eaten by a “dinosaur-sized” shark in South Africa’s most popular holiday destination.
Witnesses described watching as a man was pulled under the surf and dragged out to sea off Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town. They described seeing the shark carrying the man’s body in his mouth, turning the sea the colour of blood as it did so.
One witness, Gregg Coppen, posted the following message on Twitter: "Holy s***. We just saw a gigantic shark eat what looked like a person in front of our house. That shark was huge. Like dinosaur huge."
The attack happened on Wednesday afternoon following an increase in shark sightings. Lloyd Skinner, 37, a Zimbabwean who lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was standing chest-deep 100 metres from the shore and adjusting his goggles when he was attacked.
Cape Town's disaster management services had issued a warning hours earlier that sharks had been spotted in the water, but the shark flag was not flying. Mr Coppen told the Cape Times newspaper the shark was "longer than a minibus".
He said: "It was this giant shadow heading to something colourful. Then it sort of came out the water and took this colourful lump and went off with it. You could see its whole jaw wrap around the thing which turned out to be a person."
British visitor Phyllis McCartain told the same paper: "We saw the shark come back twice. It had the man's body in its mouth, and his arm was in the air. Then the sea was full of blood."
Kyle Johnston said: "We were swimming only about 15 metres away from the guy. We were at about chest depth and he was a little deeper. We looked at the walkway and saw people waving towels at us, then we looked further out to sea and saw what looked like blood, and a man's leg come up."
His friend Dane Leo added: "I was floating and I thought the people waving at us were joking, but then I looked back and saw a fin and blood."
Mr Skinner was reportedly on holiday in Cape Town for the month to attend the wedding of his partner's daughter. His partner was at the beach with him.
His body has not yet been found. Ian Klopper, a spokesman for the National Sea Rescue Institute, said: "You can rule out any chance of finding him alive. Whether we find body parts, it's very unlikely. We think the shark took everything."
Alison Kock, a shark scientist, said it was probably a great white, the most commonly spotted shark in the area. "More than 70 per cent of recorded great white attacks on humans result in just the shark biting and then leaving," she said. "There is that 30 per cent where the shark behaves like it did in this case, where it came back and killed the person."