August 14, 2006

S.Africa lifeguard loses foot in shark attack

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African lifeguard had his
foot bitten "clean off" when a shark attacked him during a
training exercise off a beach near Cape Town, officials said.

Achmat Hassiem, 24, and his brother and fellow lifeguard
Taariq, 17, were in the water off False Bay on Sunday when
Achmat spotted a shark and yelled to his brother to get into a
nearby boat.

"I got in the boat. The shark turned and went straight for
my brother," Taariq told the SAPA news agency. "I stuck my hand
in the water to see if I could hold him. He grabbed on to my
hand. We grabbed him out as fast as possible... His foot was
cut clean off."

Achmat was airlifted to a local hospital, having suffered a
"complete amputation of his right foot," the National Sea
Rescue Institute said. He was in satisfactory condition on

The young men's father Moegsien Hassiem said Achmat had
told him he believed the shark was a great white, which are
common in the waters around Cape Town.

"He saw it. He was face to face with it at the bottom (of
the sea)," Hassiem said.