Brad Geyser, NSRI Hout Bay station commander said: “On the 2nd of March at 13h20 NSRI Hout Bay were activated to respond to rendezvous with the fishing trawler Southwest Sea Hawk, reporting their skipper, Gabriel Fernandez, 40, from Bothasig in Cape Town, bitten by a shark on-board the trawler 30 nautical miles off-shore of Hout Bay while fishing.
The Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services were activated and a Metro ambulance was dispatched to stand-by at NSRI Hout Bay’s rescue base.
It appears that a Blue shark had been caught unintentionally in the trawlers fishing long-line and the shark had been hauled aboard the trawler when the crew recovered the long-line while long-line fishing for Tunny Fish.
The skipper attempted to free the shark from the long-line in an effort to release the shark back to the sea but he was bitten, by the shark, on the right hand, causing puncture wounds to two fingers on the right hand and a 6 cm laceration (tear) to the right wrist.
The vessel immediately called for medical assistance and after setting the shark free headed in the direction of Hout Bay harbour.
NSRI hout Bay launched our rescue craft MTU Nadine Gordimer and rendezvoused with the trawler 16 nautical miles off-shore of Hout Bay.
A relief skipper was provided by the trawlers owners and the relief skipper accompanied the rescue operation to take over the helm of the trawler on arrival on-scene.
NSRI medics were put aboard the trawler to stabilize the patient who was found in a stable and satisfactory condition.
The Skipper had self administered bandages and a tourniquet which was used to slow the bleeding and the skipper, correctly, released tension on the tourniquet at intervals to prevent further damage to his arm.
He was treated by the NSRI medics and transferred aboard our rescue craft and brought to our NSRI rescue base in Hout Bay harbour and transported to hospital by a Metro Ambulance in a stable condition.
The skipper was in good spirits throughout the rescue operation and told our rescue crew that 5 minutes prior to this incident he had been explaining to his crew what and how they should treat a situation where a shark is unintentionally caught by their fishing lines.
Mr. Fernandez admitted that he didn’t follow his own advice although the NSRI have not determined exactly what his advice was or how he handled the matter (of releasing the shark) which caused him to be bitten on the fingers and arm.
The size of the shark was also not divulged to the NSRI during the rescue operation.”