British shark attack victim was saved by a seal -Daily Mirror 30/09/2011
SHARK attack Brit Michael Cohen’s life was saved by two hero friends who pulled him from the water – and a seal.
Horrified witnesses told how the nine-foot great white was poised to strike again but got distracted when the mammal swam between it and the victim.
The seal then circled Michael and rescuers Douglas Drysdale, 61, and Hugh Till, 66, as they dragged him to the shore with the deadly shark lurking just feet away.
They had bravely waded into the bloodied water after the beast had ripped off Michael’s right leg and badly mauled his left ankle.
The quick-thinking pair tied a makeshift tourniquet around the accountant’s severed limb, a move doctors say saved his life.
Kyle James was on the beach near Cape Town, South Africa, when he saw the giant fish swim silently up behind Michael.
He said: “The shark lunged for the swimmer, shook him once, then let go and moved off five or 10 metres away.”
Former South African surfing champion Tracy Sassen also witnessed the attack.
She said: “I saw a burst of water and thought it was a seal taking a fish.
“Then people started rushing into the sea and pulling this guy out. He was crying and pleading, ‘Please help me.’ Half of one leg was missing.”
Craig Lambinon of South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute spoke of the seal’s intervention. He added: “Witnesses said the seal circled the man and his rescuers as they waded ashore with the shark close by.”
A view of Fish Hoek beach where people gathered after a Michael Cohen was attacked by a shark
Douglas and Hugh had shouted warnings at Michael from a cliff where they were sitting. But by the time they got into the water, the shark had struck. They made their tourniquet from the leg of a wetsuit and two belts. Trauma surgeon Professor Andrew Nicol, who spent four hours operating on Michael, said: “They saved his life. He is very lucky to be alive.
“We replaced his entire blood volume almost twice.”
A regular swimmer at Fish Hoek beach where he was savaged on Wednesday, Michael was in the water despite the beach being closed after three sharks were spotted. He is said to have once told friends: “If a shark takes me, then blame me, not the shark.”
Michael studied at university in South Africa but lived in London for a while. He has a British passport but lives in South Africa.
A shark is spotted after the attack on Michael Cohen