Wetsuit tourniquet saved S. African shark victim: doctor

29th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The British man who was mauled by a shark at Cape Town beach was saved by good Samaritans who turned a wetsuit into a tourniquet to stem his bleeding, his surgeon said Thursday.

Michael Cohen, a 43-year-old British man living in Cape Town, lost his right leg above the knee and his left leg below the knee when a great white shark attacked him on Wednesday, local authorities said.

"The injury to the right leg had been controlled at the scene with a tourniquet," said Andrew Nicol, the trauma surgeon who operated on Cohen.

"That tourniquet has consisted of a wetsuit that had been applied around the thigh and wrapped with two belts very, very tightly," he told a news conference.

"It's just too early to predict at the moment about the outcome but I think a promising sign is the fact that he is stabilising," he said.

"We've basically replaced his blood volume twice over already."

The beach was closed after sharks had been spotted earlier in the day but Cohen ignored warning flags when he went into the water at Fish Hoek beach, the city of Cape Town said in a statement.

He was rescued by two passersby who dragged him from the water and by one of the city's Shark Spotters who used his belt to fasten the tourniquet, said National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon.

Beaches along Cape Town's False Bay remained closed on Thursday after two sharks were spotted in the morning.

© 2011 AFP

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