16 November 2004

Five new sharks halt search

Cape Town - The search for the body of shark attack victim Tyna Webb has been scaled down to foot patrols along the Fish Hoek beach and catwalk.

Craig Lambinon for Sea Rescue told News24 on Tuesday police divers would not return to the bay to look for the 78-year-old woman's body. He said he was satisfied that a thorough search was conducted on Monday, with a rescue helicopter and the NSRI's boats, harbour patrol and police divers combing the water and the beaches for any sign of the body.

A person close to the investigation said police divers were ordered out of the water at about 14:00 when five sharks were spotted in the bay. "Some of those sharks were very close to surfers," he said. He said there was a slim chance of finding the body.

He said the water was very clear on Monday, and helicopter and rescue boat crews, who spotted the sharks, would also have spotted a body. Lambinon said law enforcement and lifeguards would patrol the beach and catwalk and monitor the situation.

"We are not going to handcuff people who want to swim. They are doing so at their own risk. But then again, they have been doing so all along. "Bathers and surfers must be aware of the danger, and must keep their own vigil.

He said although it was not unusual for sharks to be close inshore according to the Natal Shark board, the shark that attacked Tyna Webb was behaving out of character.

"According to the history of shark attacks, it is unusual for a shark to attack a human being more than once. Usually it would give one bite, probably thinking it's a seal, and then leave the person alone. "One theory is that the adrenalin a human produces puts off the sharks. "In this instance, the shark apparently attacked three times," said Lambinon.


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