A great white shark that killed a mother in waist-deep water surfaced through a wave before attacking.
Kimon Bisogno, 39, had been on a beach in Plettenberg Bay South Africa on Monday with her husband and young daughter. She had been wading through waist-deep water when the great white shark, believed to be nearly 13 feet long, emerged through a wave and charged, GB News reported.
Witnesses said the water “turned red” as people nearby cried out for help. According to news.com, the tall white man quickly approached Bisogno and grabbed her with his teeth. She was then pulled under the water.
Rescue workers and police responded at 7:53 a.m. and recovered Bisogno’s remains about 50 meters from where the attack occurred, the National Sea Rescue Institute said in a statement.
Great White Sharks can be found in waters around South Africa, but they are particularly plentiful off the Western Cape during the winter months.
Experts believe this is due to a sardine “feeding frenzy”. In winter, billions of sardines use the cold ocean waters to reproduce. This attracts large whites to the area to feed.
According to local media, an eyewitness to the Bisogno attack said numerous people went for an early morning swim at that time.
“I just heard a lot of screams and saw people running out of the water. I assumed it was a shark attack, but I was quite far away and then the lifeboat appeared,” the eyewitness said. “I then heard that a woman was being attacked while she was only two or three waves away so it was pretty shallow but they said there was nothing they could do to help her.”
Great White Sharks have been involved in more attacks than any other shark species. Despite this, attacks remain relatively rare. It’s not clear why the sharks occasionally target humans since they don’t actively hunt them.
South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute says there have been more shark activity than usual this year, although the attack on Bisogno was classified as “very unusual”.
According to the International Shark Attack File, South Africa has experienced 37 fatal shark attacks since 1997.
In May, the local council approved plans to conduct shark barrier surveys on the beach where the attack took place. This will help officials learn more about sharks and the reasons behind their attacks, the National Rescue Institute said.
“Bitou Municipality has also established a Shark Committee working with experienced private sector personnel to help limit such incidents,” the statement said. “Our condolences go out to the family of the deceased woman.”
news week has reached out to the National Sea Rescue Institute for comment.