Shark the Loser in Attack on Father-Son Bathers

AP 07-JUL-98

PLETTENBERG BAY, South Africa (AP) A father and son were attacked by a ragged-tooth shark, but the creature wound up the loser when the father grabbed the four-foot-long shark and dragged it onto the beach.

Mark Thomas, 10, had just caught a wave on his surfboard in waist-deep water Monday when the shark sunk its teeth into the boy's right leg, the newspaper Beeld reported today.

Clark Thomas grabbed the shark and pulled it off his son but also was bitten in the right leg in the process.

"I grabbed the shark in a vise grip, pulled it out of the ocean and threw it onto the beach," the 47-year-old father was quoted as saying.

Mark needed 22 stitches and his father 21, news reports said. With the attack happening amid a spate of shark incidents in recent weeks, doctors dissected the fish to see if it had attacked other bathers. No human flesh was found in its stomach, Beeld said.

The attack happened in Plettenberg Bay in the Indian Ocean, 280 miles east of Cape Town.

At least six people have been injured in shark attacks off South Africa in the past six weeks. One of the victims died.

Sharks apparently mistake some wetsuit-clad surfers for seals or turtles. Others approach the coast to feed on schools of sardines that make migratory runs past the shores.

Dive operators also lure sharks into coastal waters by throwing bait into the ocean so paying customers in underwater cages can view the predators.

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