Shark attack in Namibia now recognised by international body

Namibia has its first official shark attack incident entered into the database of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF).
Three years ago, Windhoek resident Jan Sieber was windsurfing at the Walvis Bay speed strip when he was bitten in the right foot by a shark. After a lengthy operation he made a full recovery.
This is now the first and only recognized Namibian shark attack.
But, there is no need for panic! Shark attacks in Namibia are virtually non-existent and makes Sieber’s case exceptional. “I probably surprised the shark when I put my foot into the water. The shark was probably right there, just bit down and swam off again”, Sieber explained to namib times this week.
The incident occurred in October 2014. Sieber, who used to be an avid windsurfer, was out on the speed strip trying to make a start. He had one leg in the water. “I suddenly felt something bite into my foot, shake twice and then immediately let go”, he said. He immediately realized it was a shark bite, but could not exactly see what type of shark it was, as the water is quite murky.
Once Sieber swam back to shore, he was admitted to hospital. Initially he thought the shark had only damaged muscle tissue, but it turned out that tendons were also severed. He could not move his toes anymore, and had to undergo and intricate operation where the tendons were re-attached. For a few months after the incident he endured immense pain in the injured foot. “But all is well now”, Sieber continued. He made a full recovery.
It was suspected at the time the shark in question was a seven-gilled cow-shark. It is commonly found in the lagoon. The upper teeth of cow-sharks resemble sharp spike-like. The lower teeth are razor-like – the injuries on the foot match wounds that could have been caused by teeth of a cow-shark.
Sieber submitted information and photographs of the incident to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF). ISAF is an initiative of the Florida Museum. ISAF records all shark attacks globally and has developed an extensive database.
Specialist from the museum analysed photos of the bite wound and came to the conclusion the shark that bit Sieber was approximately six feet long (1.8 meters). “Based on the information given we could not narrow the culprit down to a specific species, but can confirm that it was a shark of the Carcharhinidae family (which includes bulls and blacktips) rather than of the Lamnidae family (which includes white sharks and makos)”, was the reply.
According to ISAF the leading country where most shark attacks were reported is the USA (1352), followed by Australia (607) and South Africa (250).
Is Sieber scared of going back into ocean? “Not really”, he says. Instead of windsurfing he has now taken up lessons in kite surfing.

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