Diver undergoes 5-hour surgery after a black tip shark bit his hand on the KZN South Coast

Diver Renier Kruger in his hospital bed with his hand heavily bandaged.

Diver Renier Kruger recovering at a KZN South Coast hospital after he was bitten by an Oceanic black tip shark. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jan 2, 2023


Durban - A 26-year-old diver who was bitten by an Oceanic black tip shark on Friday while diving off Shelly Beach is recovering at a KwaZulu-Natal South Coast hospital after undergoing surgery.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Renier Kruger, from Umtentweni in Port Shepstone, posted an update on his condition on a community Facebook page thanking everyone who helped him after the incident.

“As most already know I have been attacked by a shark. Doesn't sound nice to know what actually happened but again I got to accept what has happened,” said Kruger.

Describing the sequence of events, Kruger said it was a normal day at work and they had planned to do two dives.

He said the attack happened during the first dive which was baited. Kruger said the dive started well as they had two bull sharks around the bait ball as they got into the water.

After the first few minutes of the dive they moved along.

“It didn’t take me long to get a residential Oceanic black tip by the name of Smiley onto the bait ball,” he said.

He said they had progressed in the dive around 30-35 minutes when the black tip shark decided to come from behind and bit his right hand while it was tucked in against his buoyancy control device.

“As I looked towards my hand inside her mouth I knew what was going to happen (but) I was proven wrong and didn’t lose my hand,” said Kruger.

Kruger said a fellow diver was right beside him after the shark let go of his hand and immediately attended to him once they got onto the boat.

According to Mi7 National Group spokesperson Colin David, the group’s Emergency Medical Services received information about the attack at 9.30am and medics who were at the Shelly Beach Ski Boat Club responded.

“It is believed a 26-year-old man was bitten by a shark while on a chartered dive just off the coast. When the patient arrived at the shore, Mi7 medics found he had sustained serious bite marks. He was quickly stabilised and transported to a local hospital,” said David.

Diver Renier Kruger was rushed back to shore at Shelly Beach where medics treated him for a shark bite. Picture: Mi7 National Group

Kruger said he was taken to the hospital where he underwent 5 hours of surgery.

“I am still not 100% sure of everything [that] is wrong with my hand but I was told it (the operation) was a success,” said Kruger.

At the time of the post, Kruger said he was waiting to speak to the doctor who worked on his hand to get feedback.

“Big thanks to everyone that was involved in helping me on the boat, especially David van Vuuren for getting me back to the beach with no time wasted and having the emergency team ready on the ramp,” he said.

Kruger added that he did not have bait in his hands and that he was not reckless during the dive.

Diver Renier Kruger was rushed back to shore at Shelly Beach in Margate KZN where medics treated him for a shark bite. Picture: Mi7 National Group