Image: Shark warning flag in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa
Nic Bothma  /  EPA
A woman reads a book Wednesday on a bench beneath a shark warning flag next to the closed Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town, South Africa, where a great white shark attacked a swimmer.
updated 9/28/2011 2:07:40 PM ET 2011-09-28T18:07:40

A British man lost parts of both legs when he was attacked by a great white shark Wednesday after he ignored warnings and went swimming at a Cape Town, South Africa, beach, authorities said.

The 42-year-old man apparently made it back toward shore at  Fish Hoek beach and was pulled from the water by a bystander who left before he could be identified, according to the Press Association news agency.

An amateur video taken shortly after the attack was uploaded to YouTube and shows a shark still lurking in the water after the mauling victim was stabilized on the beach and airlifted to Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic in critical condition.

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesman Craig Lambinon told The Telegraph of London that the man was swimming about 50 meters from shore when the shark attacked.

"It repeatedly bit at both of his legs and caused serious wounds on both the right and left side," he said.

When medical teams arrived, the found the swimmer with his right leg bit off above the knee and the left leg bit off below the knee," Lambinon said.

The victim was believed to live in the suburb of Plumstead.

Lambinon said: "The man was conscious when paramedics attended to him on the beach, but was sedated on-scene by paramedics in their efforts to stabilize the patient."

Spotters had sighted the shark 90 minutes before the attack and closed the beach. The white shark flag was raised and the siren set off.

Cape Town officials told the South African Press Association that, when the man entered the water, the beach was still closed. A shark flag, indicating the presence of a great white, was flying.

A shark spotter stationed on the long beach was warned by a spotter on the mountain that someone had entered the water.

The spotter then ran to Clovelly Corner to try to get the swimmer out of the water, but the attack took place before he could reach him.

The victim of the attack was the only person in the water at the time.

The beach, together with another three nearby, was closed as a precaution until further notice.

The shark was still in Fish Hoek Bay in the afternoon and being monitored by the spotters.

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