Black December: When Sharks Attacks Compelled The Government To Bomb The Ocean

By | December 10, 2019

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Sharks rarely attack humans, but that doesn't mean you would want to swim here. (ABC News)

Even the gnarliest, saltiest surfers in the world admit that sharks give them the willies. Thankfully, sharks attacks are so rare that we don't have to worry about them most of the time, but "most of the time" did not include the period between December 18, 1957 and April 5, 1958, known as "Black December." During that short stretch of time, nine people were attacked by sharks along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, six of whom died of their injuries. Believe it or not, that was just the beginning of the weirdness.

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Great White sharks populate South Africa as much as any place in the world. (Top Tenz)

South African Vacation

It started on December 18, 1957, when 16-year-old Robert Wherley was attacked while bodyboarding just outside the city of Durban, losing his left leg from the knee down and part of the same thigh as well. While gruesome, the attack didn’t raise too many alarms, as shark attacks aren't unheard of in the Durban area. Just two days later, however, 15-year-old Allan Green was fatally attacked while simply wading in the water. At that point, people began the pay attention.