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South Africa lifeguard killed by shark as horrified beachgoers look on

December 21, 2009 |  7:40 am

Beachgoers at Port St. Johns Second Beach in South Africa could do but nothing but watch in terror as a lifeguard was pulled from his paddle board by a shark and killed.

The 22-year-old was paddling ahead of fellow lifeguard Abongile Maza when the attack occurred, reports the Daily Dispatch.

"I could not believe what I saw with my own eyes because it did not seem real," said Maza. "It was a surprise attack that has left the surfing and lifeguard community shocked."

This is the fourth fatal shark attack in two years at the beach and the second this year.

National Sea Rescue Institute station commander John Costello said water conditions at the time were murky and flat with a slight swell -- ideal for a shark to attack.

"Witnesses I spoke to said they saw his hands in the air for a short while before his whole body disappeared under the water and a red pool of blood was seen on the surface," Costello said. "Only his knee board washed ashore."

Costello added that the shark species cannot be identified because an analysis is impossible without seeing the bite marks. The victim's body has yet to be found.

-- Kelly Burgess