National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI)
03. May, 2015
On Saturday 2 May, Rob Nettleton took a normal party of sightseers out on his private boat OFFSHORE 1. The trip was arranged to accommodate local backpacker sightseeing tour operator, 29 year old Mathieu Dasnois, from Cape Town.
He has been living in Port St Johns for the past year and had clients to accompany the normal sightseeing trip. Having recently purchased new dive equipment Mathieu, an avid and well known spear fisherman, asked skipper Rob Nettleton if he could take a quick dip to test his new equipment.
In shallower waters (about 4 meter depth), at Sugarloaf Rock, Rob agreed that Mathieu could take a quick dip in the water, at about 13h30, to test his new dive equipment. Once in the water Rob moved the away, to about 20 meters. Mathieu dived, surfaced and dived a second time when the dorsal fin of a 3.5 to 4 meter White Shark was seen approaching.
The shark grabbed Mathieu’s hands which Mathieu used to fend off the shark and it appeared that the shark went passed Mathieu.
The boat immediately went to Mathieu’s aid but on reaching Mathieu the shark breached from under Mathieu pulling him away from the boat with his foot in its mouth. Mathieu managed to get his foot free and by that stage the boat was again alongside Mathieu. Again, while attempting to rescue Mathieu, the shark breached but this time it appears that the boat got in the way of the sharks efforts and the people onboard the boat were able to pull Mathieu into the boat. Emergency medical treatment began immediately and Mathieu was brought ashore where EC Government Health EMS were on hand to assist.
Paramedics treated Mathieu’s injuries and transported him to hospital in a stable condition where, following an operation, Mathieu is in high spirits. Mathieu is on the road to recovery suffering minor lacerations to his hands and right foot.
Rob Nettleton (although off-duty at the time) has been an NSRI volunteer at Port St Johns for four and a half years and carries a comprehensive medical kit onboard his boat. Also on board was crew member Debbie Smith, a volunteer with NSRI Port St Johns.
Rob adds that their years of experience and training with NSRI kicked in automatically but that everyone onboard his boat that day played a major role in the successful outcome of the incident.