How the tide turned for the Hassiem brothers after their 2006 shark ordeal

In 2006, two brothers survived a shark attack at Cape Town's Muizenberg beach that changed the course of their lives.

Achmat Hassiem lost his lower right leg, while trying to save his younger brother, Taariq Hassiem in the water.

Achmat, otherwise known as 'Shark Boy', went on to become a Paralympic swimmer, representing South Africa in Beijing, London and Rio.

Achmat retired from his competitive swimming career after the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, in order to focus solely on marine conservation work.

Read: How local surf champ Alfonso Peters used surfing to escape the streets

The marine conservationist says joining the cause has helped increase his awareness and maintains that he does not regret saving his brother.

I wouldn't change a thing. A leg is nothing to lose compared to the life of my brother.

Achmat Hassiem, former Paralympic Swimmer and marine conservationist

I've achieved everything I wanted to achieve within the sport itself.

Achmat Hassiem, former Paralympic Swimmer and marine conservationist

I figured now is the time to get full into conservation and try save the planet we live on and make Shark Boy an actual household superhero name.

Achmat Hassiem, former Paralympic Swimmer and marine conservationist

Over 100 million sharks are killed per year on average.

Achmat Hassiem, former Paralympic Swimmer and marine conservationist

Achmat has also taken on some new adventures, training to become a Paralympic bodybuilder and starting a YouTube channel titled 'shark boy vlogs'.

At the same time, Taariq has been competing at an international level as a lifesaver and plans to take on the 2018 Lifesaving World Champs in Australia with his club.

My brother is always pushing me harder, to the next level.

Taariq Hassiem, False Bay Surf lifeguard

I do think about the shark... I'm a water boy, I love surfing and kneeboarding.

Taariq Hassiem, False Bay Surf lifeguard

The pair spoke about the fateful day of the shark attack, how it affected their and their budding individual careers - both involving water.

Take a listen to their inspiring stories:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How the tide turned for the Hassiem brothers after their 2006 shark ordeal


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