The tragic mother attacked and killed in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, by a great white shark has been named as Kimon Bisogno. She was on holiday from Cape Town with her family who are believed to have been paddling on the beach when she was killed.
Restaurant owner Kimon, 39, was enjoying a Heritage Day weekend break away from the pizza house she ran in Cape Town with the “love-of-her-life” Diego Milesi, 40.
Together with daughter Luna, 5, they had driven to the luxury Beacon Isle hotel complex in Plettenberg Bay for three days, after rebuilding their business after Covid.
But yesterday just before 8am Kimon went into the water for an early morning dip and was said to be only waist deep when the great white attacked through a wave. Her family was just metres away.
Witnesses said the sea around Kimon “turned red” and fellow swimmers fled the water screaming. A desperate call went out to the local lifeboat for help but it was too dangerous for locals to venture in.
The inshore craft from the National Sea Rescue Institute was launched and was quickly on the scene. They retrieved Kimon’s blood in the surf about 45 metres out from where she was attacked.
The shark attack had been so brutal that nothing could be done to save the young mom. Her body was lifted onto a stretcher and returned to base where it was handed over to police. Forensic pathologists will carry out a post-mortem and an inquest will be held. In the meantime, her family has been offered trauma counselling.
Former NSRI lifeboatman Bruce Noble who is now on the Plett Shark Action Committee in Plettenberg Bay estimated that the size of the great white shark would have been between 11 to 13 feet long.
He said:”The water in that area is very shallow but she had drifted into a deeper channel which is about 2 metres deep and was on her own in that channel when the shark attacked her.
“It was one bite which was from the thigh to the lower back but it was a large shark about 3.5m to 4m judging by the bite and she was quite a small woman and it released her after the bite.
“But there was a lot of damage done and a number of arteries were severed and death would have been very quick. She was the only one out in that channel when the shark attacked her.
“I am not aware of where her family was at the time but I know they were on a break together. It is very tragic and very unfortunate as we do not get many shark attacks along the bay.
“But then we have two fatal attacks in three months and that is 3 in 11 years. At this time of year the sharks are around from April till October looking for baby seals that their mums have birthed.
“It is very sad and we will be looking into what measure we can take to prevent it happening again. The rescue boat reached her quickly but there was nothing they could do for her” he said.
Normally great white shark’s victims suffer a quick loss of blood when their arteries are severed by razor-sharp teeth and many, as a result, suffer from heart attacks.
It was the second death in the same idyllic resort in just three months and the third in 11 years. The beach was closed to bathers, and shark warning signs erected.
Last night close friend Carmin Commins said on Facebook: “I have scrolled through your page over and over again and hoping that it is a mistake.
“I don’t know how the world could let someone like you go too soon but what I do know is that anyone that you met you touched their life with your love.
“The world truly lost a bright shining light and pure soul who left happiness, laughter, glitter and kindness where ever you went.
“You were so genuine with so much love in your heart” she said.
Another friend Gabrielle Alberts said: “Such sad news.I will remember your joyous, infectious laugh forever.RIP Kimon – too good for this earth”.
South African Kimon met the love of her life, Diego, on holiday in Ibiza 13 years ago and they moved in together in her native Cape Town five years ago and had a daughter Luna.
Diego said on a Facebook video: “Our love story goes back 13 years.I couldn’t speak English. You couldn’t speak Italian. But we connected through cooking”.
They set up the popular Fernando’s Pizza restaurant and takeaway in Cape Town but both were committed to helping out the less fortunate in life.
A close friend of the couple said: “They worked very hard and very long hours but both of them were very away of their social responsibilities to others.
“They set up the Obs Pasta Kitchen with close friend Dina which served up delicious and literally lifesaving meals to the poor and starving every Wednesday like clockwork.
“Both believed very much in saving the planet and were hippy types who saw the best in everyone and earning money was just a means to help others.
“They were blessed when Luna was born 5 years ago and were a perfect family and the news of her passing in such a way has just left us all in bits.
“She was such a perfect loving wife and mum – why her?” she said.
The Bitou Municipality which oversees the beach has shut down the Bay and put up shark signs and posted lifeguards to keep tourists out of the water.
Kimon – know to friends as Kiki – was the third to be killed by a great white shark there in 11 years.
Just last June stockbroker and married dad Bruce Wolov who was an acclaimed long-distance swimmer and keen snorkeller was torn apart just off-shore.
And in 2011 local carpenter and keen surfer Tim Van Heerden was on his board when a great white shark attacked while he was waiting to catch a wave.
It horrifically bit him in the attack and he was knocked into the sea and as he grabbed his board the Great White tore into him a second time fatally.
Despite a brave pal grabbing him and getting him to rocks he had suffered massive bite wounds to his groin and upper leg which severed an artery.
Bitou Municipality Mayor David Swart said: “We have never had a fatality until 2011 and now we have had three with two of those in the last three months.
“We are researching and looking at putting up a shark barrier and increased warning signage and start our lifeguard’s season a month earlier than usual.
“There seems to be no change in the shark’s behaviour in this area so it is a bit of a mystery why we have had three fatal attacks in such a short space of time.
“Our thoughts go out to the woman and her family at this time” he said.
In South Africa the weekend was a Bank Holiday for Heritage Day and a time for many for a sunshine break away to celebrate with family and friends.
Great white sharks can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh 2 tonnes and have up to 300 razor sharp serrated teeth arranged in rows in its giant jaws.
The predator when attacking can swim at up to 35mph guided by an extremely powerful sense of smell and normally prey on seals, sea lions and dolphins.
Humans are often mistaken for seals especially when in wet suits and attacks are said by experts not to be intentional but “experimental” when biting.
They usually move away after biting once when they realise the human is not their natural prey but the damage done by just one shark bite is often fatal.
In the last 25 years 37 people have been killed in shark attacks off South Africa and going back as far as 1950 the figure rises 66 falling victim to their jaws.
Shark activity along the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town increases in winter due to the annual sardine run – an important food source.
A South African shark expert, who asked not to be named, said: “You have to remember the ocean has always been the territory of the shark – they rule.
“There are more and more people in the water these days what with surfing and paddle boarding and swimming and the sharks are always ever present.
“But they are not seeking out humans and attacks are rare and usually not intended as they are mistaken for prey but the results are often fatal.
“You have 47 time more chance of being killed by lightning or 11 times more chance of being killed by fireworks than being killed by a shark” he said.
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