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Bystanders saved shark bite Briton

A British shark attack victim whose leg was bitten off was saved by quick-thinking bystanders who applied a makeshift tourniquet from a wetsuit and two belts, a surgeon said.

Michael Cohen, 42, was mauled by the great white while swimming at Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town, South Africa. He emerged from the water bleeding profusely from his right thigh and left ankle which was also bitten through.

Surgeon professor Andrew Nichol said Mr Cohen was critical but stable in hospital after receiving more than seven litres of blood.

He paid tribute to those who saved Mr Cohen's life, saying: "That tourniquet has consisted of a wetsuit applied around the thigh and wrapped around with two belts very, very tightly. It was an amateur tourniquet but it had almost completely resulted in a cessation of blood loss."

Mr Cohen is believed to be a part-time accountant living in the Cape Town suburb of Plumstead. He was airlifted to Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic where he arrived fully conscious.

A power cut prevented a shark spotter from sounding a warning alarm before Mr Cohen was attacked, it has been reported.

The South African Press Association (Sapa) quoted the City of Cape Town saying in a report on the incident: "The spotter tried to sound the alarm, but due to an Eskom-related city-wide electricity failure, the alarm did not sound."

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon told Sapa that shark spotters had warned Mr Cohen not to enter the water because three sharks had been seen. This was not the first time Mr Cohen had ignored spotters' warnings, he said: "They have spoken to him on previous occasions as well, but he still goes and swims."

Mr Lambinon said Mr Cohen was pulled out of the water by "two humble good Samaritans", local men Douglas Drysdale, 61, and Hugh Till, 66.

"Without hesitation, the two men kicked off their shoes, plunged into the water and waded through the surf to reach the injured swimmer," Mr Lambinon said. "Douglas had called the emergency services before plunging into the water himself."

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