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Entries in Cape Town (3)

Friday
Apr202012

Anger at 'Shark Men' After Famous Bodyboarder Killed by Great White

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) -- One day after South Africa revoked a permit for a U.S.-based production company filming shark research near Cape Town, commenters continued to blame the documentary team for Thursday's great white attack that killed a revered bodyboarder -- even as the city seemed to exonerate the researchers.

Hundreds of South Africans posted angry messages Thursday and Friday on the Shark Men Facebook page, saying that the practice of "chumming" -- baiting the water to attract sharks -- had led to the death of 20-year-old champion bodyboarder David Lilienfeld.

"This chumming is ridiculous. ... There hasn't been a single shark sighting where David was attacked since 1999. How can you say this was not a result of them chumming our waters," posted Bianca Schwerin.

According to local news reports, Lilienfeld, a member of the South African Bodyboarding Team, was paddling with his brother Gustav in Kogel Bay at a popular surfing spot called the "Caves" near Cape Town when a shark nearly 13-feet- to 16-feet-long bit off his right leg. Lilienfeld died in the water and his body eventually floated to shore.

The Shark Men program, which has shown on the National Geographic channel, features expert anglers working with scientists to catch sharks and tag them for research. The production company reportedly had a permit for chumming and filming.

On the show's Facebook page, Chris Fischer, the production company's founder and show host, denied that the project had led to the attack.

In a post, he said: "We departed False Bay over three days ago after working there from Sunday afternoon the 15th to Monday afternoon the 16th. During our 24 hrs of work (Sun afternoon to Monday afternoon) there we chummed 24 kg of pilchards (sardines). Less than the daily allotment for each of three cage diving boats working daily. ... We are terribly sorry again for the loss of this family and at this time our thoughts and prayers are with them."

But commenters on the page disagreed.

"Murders. You were warned of this and ignored the local knowledge. And you call yourselves conservationists? Since when do you feed wild animals?" wrote Dion Beneke.

"Chumming must stop and the exploitation of our wildlife in Africa must stop this is all about greed and money," said Monica Rogers.

The show's research permit was pulled Thursday by the South Africa Environmental Affairs Department. In a statement, the agency's spokesman Zolile Nqayi said that the permit had been suspended, not revoked, and that a meeting with Shark Men and Ocearch, the foundation behind the shark research, had been scheduled for next week.

"In light of the panic in the public, the department withdrew the permit firstly because of the shark attack and the possibility that another could occur," Nquayi said.

Gregg Oelofse, head of Cape Town's environmental policy department, however, said the permit should not have been denied.

"I don't think it was the right decision because I don't think there's any evidence that the two events were related," he told ABC News. "I think by withdrawing the permit, it just increased the perception in the public realm that there was some correlation between the two."

Cape Town also released a statement, saying that great whites were known to frequent Kogel Bay during this period and that the presence of dolphins and birds feeding indicated "an increased likelihood of shark activity."

"There is no evidence or reason to suggest that the tagging of four white sharks over a period of 24 hours ... by the Ocearch Programme had any role to play in the tragic events that occurred at Caves," according to the statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan172012

Mountain Crash Leaves Famed Base Jumper Hospitalized

ABC News(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) -- Famed base jumper Jeb Corliss is in a South African hospital after crashing Monday on Table Mountain in Cape Town. Footage of the crash has been posted on YouTube.

Though Corliss, 35, is reported to have suffered severe leg injuries, he joked to South African newspaper The Cape Times that “I feel better than I’ve ever felt.”

Corliss, who was profiled by 20/20 last year and in 2010, made a name for himself jumping from world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. and says he has made more than 1,000 jumps.

“I was about 5 years old and I was watching these birds, and I remember seeing them open their wings and start to fly,” Corliss told 20/20 in 2010. “And I remember going, you know what, when I get older I’m going to do that.”

Corliss uses a flying squirrel-style wing-suit to travel at speeds of up to 300 mph and steer through the air during freefall. Watch Corliss explain how his suit works here.

“If you want to do something spectacular, something special, you have to be willing to take really unique risks,” he told 20/20.

Since his accident, authorities at Table Mountain National Park said that they do not issue permits for base jumps and that Corliss did not have permission to jump at the park. They said they will fine Corliss and could also press charges against him.

Watch Corliss complete one of his breathtaking stunts -- leaping from a 7,000-foot cliff in Switzerland -- and 20/20′s coverage below.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

Michelle Obama and Desmond Tutu Show Kids How to Stay Healthy

Michelly Rall/WireImage(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) -- First lady Michelle Obama did some push-ups and kicked around soccer balls alongside Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu as she closed out her visit to South Africa and prepared to leave for neighboring Botswana.

Tutu, who turns 80 this October, joined Obama at the new Cape Town Stadium, where the World Cup soccer tournament was held last year.

When Tutu introduced the first lady, he announced that she was a VIP, but then he also told each of the children in attendance that they were all VSPs, which the kids rightly guessed meant "very special persons."

The first lady said her co-host, a famed leader in the fight for racial equality in South Africa, was a special man.

"Well, Archbishop Tutu, I think you're a VSP, too," she said, laughing. "You guys are going to show us some soccer moves....Are you ready to? We might show you our moves."

Before the drills, the first lady urged the dozens of children to make safe, healthy choices.

"In order to be a VSP, you've got to be what? A VHP -- a 'very healthy person.' Right?" she asked. "Which means you've got to have the knowledge and the internal wisdom to make sure you're taking care of yourself."

"It's hard to have an impact if you're not in the best condition possible," she said.

Obama also spoke to a group of children at the University of Cape Town, where she told the youngsters that they, too, could go to college and make an impact.

"I wanted you to see that the students here are really not that different from all of you," she said. "I wanted you to realize that you can fit in here, too."

One child asked what the first lady's favorite food was.

"If I picked one favorite, favorite food, it's French fries, OK? It's French fries. I can't stop eating them," she said, admitting they are not the healthiest choice. "But eat your vegetables. And exercise."

Obama spent part of the day touring the District Six Museum in Cape Town -- a memorial recalling the forced segregation that once took place in the coastal city -- with her daughters Sasha and Malia, her mother, and her niece and nephew.

The museum trip replaced a planned visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. A ferry trip to the Atlantic Ocean island was cancelled because of dangerously high winds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio