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Shark-bitten surfer ‘lucky to be alive’

20-year-old UCT student Matthew Smithers was bitten by a shark while surfing on Friday afternoon.

FILE: He was airlifted to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition. Picture: CNN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town's shark expert says a Muizenberg shark attack victim is lucky to be alive.

20-year-old UCT student Matthew Smithers was bitten by a shark while surfing opposite the pavilion on Friday afternoon.

He was airlifted to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition.

The beach has been reopened under severe caution due to poor visibility.

Shark expert Greg Ulofse says Gregg Oelofse says it's been confirmed that a 3.8 metre great white shark was responsible for Friday's attack off the Muizenberg shore.

Oelofse says judging by the size of the animal, Matthew Smithers is lucky to be alive.

"With that size animal and the force is would apply to a bite, he got away with very minor injuries considering what could have happened."

Meanwhile, Muizenberg surfers are eager to get back in the water as the beach has been closed for nearly 24 hours.

Oelofse has urged the public to exercise extreme caution.

"The beach is open but it's under caution and we're just doing that because the conditions for spotting are not very good today but we do believe it's time to reopen the beach as there's no reason not to."

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