Thu, 11 July 2019

A crowdfunding campaign for medical costs has been launched for the young Port Alfred surfer recovering in hospital after he was bitten by a shark at East Pier yesterday, reports Spike.


SURVIVOR: Dusty Phelan is recovering in a PE hospital after lengthy surgery. Photo KBC

The Kowie Board Riders Club (KBC) has launched a fund-raising drive on Go Fund Me to help Dusty and his family with the medical costs after a shark badly mauled him at East Pier yesterday at 10.30am. At R250 a minute for the operating theatre (he was in theatre for 210 minutes), other hospital costs such as medication and checkups, and then a long road to recovery that might entail physical rehabilitation and even therapy for PTS, the bill could run into hundreds of thousands of rand.

Online teacher Dusty Phelan, 27, was waiting for a set wave in clean surf yesterday, when the shark bit him twice across both legs. He was pulled out of the water by two friends, Joao Felizardo and Phillip Britz, son of Rhodes ichthyology professor Peter Britz, and rushed to hospital in PE where he underwent major surgery. He is expected to recover.

Felizardo said he has seen a dark shadow as he was riding a wave towards the mid-break alongside the shorter pier. Moments after he completed the ride, Dusty was hit, suffering deep wounds to his thigh and bone damage as the shark bit into him down to the bone.


BOARD BITE: The bite marks on Dusty's board suggest a juvenile Great White. Photo KBC

"The waves were firing. A set wave came and I went on one. I took off and checked this shadow straight from the takeoff zone out of the corner of my eye. As I kicked out of the wave, I heard horrific screams coming from where two of my mates were (out the back in the river mouth takeoff zone). I duck-dived a wave trying to get back out and saw Phil holding Dusty and paddling him in, shouting that we needed to call the authorities urgently," Felizardo said.

"Phil had chased the shark away with the nose of his board and was basically screaming and shouting at the shark after it came back aggressively a second time. That was the screaming I had heard. Eventually, the thing disappeared," Felizardo said. "We got Dusty to the beach and took our leashes off and made a tourniquet around his leg."

But when they came out of the water, they were 400 metres down East Beach, so Felizardo sprinted to the car, and phoned the ambulance and Dusty's mom. They waited a scary 20 minutes waiting for the ambulance.


LEASH TOURNIQUET: His rescuers acted swiftly, but it will be a long recovery. Photo Warwick Heny

The shark severed some major veins but missed his femoral artery. It bit him twice."It was fucking hectic. We were trying not to be freaked out. When the ambulance came it was full-on action. With the paramedics, we grabbed the trauma board, put him on and cut open his wetsuit.

"Phil basically saved his life. If we had not been there, it could have have been totally different. The shark severed major veins but missed his femoral artery. It bit him twice. On the second bite, he was pulled under. His right leg was severely damaged. He was lucky not to lose his leg, or his life. They had to do a lot of work cutting into muscle, cleaning the wound and putting tendons back together."

Local real estate agent and veteran Port Alfred local Warwick Heny said he played with Dusty for the local Port Alfred cricket club.

"When I got to the hospital, Dusty was in quite a bad way. He was still in his wetsuit, and he had a tourniquet around his leg. I heard the doctor say that he had bone damage from the bite. One of the wounds looked pretty bad," Heny said.


CHINTSA CHILLS: Dusty Phelan and his sister chilling at Chintsa near East London. Photo Facebook

The KBC said on Facebook today: "Dusty was bitten by a shark on Wednesday morning but thanks to our awesome community he was stabilised and taken to hospital in PE. Dusty is doing well and the doctors have done a great job with him, he’s all stitched up and clean. He should make it out by the weekend latest.

"Make a small donation to help ease the financial burden of this very unfortunate incident"He’s got a long road ahead of him and we want to do everything we can to assist our mate. His hospital bills as well as the recovery ahead is going to cost in the region of R140,000 and we need your help! This is mainly for the expense of the surgery and hospital fees as well as future expenses that relate to his recovery. The idea is that we swing the message far and wide to all friends, family and loved ones to make a small donation to help ease the financial burden of this very unfortunate incident. Please if you can spare anything it would be greatly appreciated.

"For any queries please contact Joao on: 071 892 8333."


0 #1 Ms.R.Brenton 2019-07-16 22:21
Just wondering about South Africa’s public health system. Doesn’t the health system pick up the costs that this young man is incurring?
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