GettyThe swimmer who was bitten in half by a great white shark in South Africa’s Jeffreys Bay has been named as 74-year-old local, Burgert van der Westhuizen.
According to the IB Times, Burgert was an experienced open-water swimmer who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffreys Bay.
He was snorkelling in the popular surfing area at Lower Point, Albatross Beach in the Eastern Cape on Friday when he was attacked by a 12ft shark.
In what has been described as a terrifying attack, the shark took several bites at van der Westhuizen before a surfer, Terry Olivier, kayaked to the scene and tried to bat the shark away with his oar.
But the animal was not deterred and came back for a second attempt, when Olivier saw the shark grab Burgert’s torso and carry it underwater.
Realising there was nothing more he could do, and that he too could be in great danger, he paddled back to the shore.
Allison Kuhl, of the Supertubes Surfing Foundation, said her son Zach has witnessed the attack.
According to the Independent Online, she said: “He saw a shark lifting the man up and down out the water, and there was blood everywhere.”
After hearing of the attack, Kuhl raced to the beach. She said: “Through the binoculars I could see that there was blood everywhere. I have seen fins in the water before, but this time you could see a lot of the shark’s body. I could also see the man’s blue swimming cap.”
Witnesses first thought there were two sharks involved because of its length but it was later reported that a single shark more than four metres long killed the Burgert, who was married.
It is the first fatal shark attack at Jeffreys Bay, which is hailed in the top five surfs spots in the world.