Fox News presenter Brian Kilmeade suggests sharks should be cleared from water after surfer Mick Fanning escapes from attack unscathed

"Oh my goodness, it could happen anywhere!" said Brian Kilmeade

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The Independent US

A Fox News presenter has responded to extraordinary footage of a professional surfer escaping unscathed from a shark attack in South Africa, by suggesting that the creatures should be cleared from the sea.

Mick Fanning, a three-time world champion, punched the creature in a bid to stop the attack during the JBay Open surfing competition in Jeffrey’s Bay, Eastern Cape Province - all as the ordeal was being broadcast live on TV. 

During a discussion on Fox News about the footage, Brian Kilmeade said that the “most shocking” fact about the incident was that a champion surfer could be attacked.

“You say ‘Oh my goodness, it could happen anywhere!’,” he said on the Fox and Friends segment.

He went on: “You would think that they’d have a way of clearing the waters for a competition of this level. But I guess they don’t.”

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His colleague Elisabeth Hasselbeck responded: “If you three-time world champion isn’t safe, who is?”

However, statistics show that shark attacks are highly rare, and four people are killed in unprovoked attacks each year on average. In South Africa, an average of six people are attacked by sharks, including one death.

The South African government has introduced a number of measures to prevent shark attacks, especially in KwaZulu Natal province, bordering Eastern Cape, where the attack took place.

Shark nets were first installed in 1952 along the beaches of KwaZulu Natal, and the province has not seen a shark attack in 15 years, said Jeremy Cliff, head researcher at the KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board.

However, the nets also trap non-threatening animals, making them an environmental hazard.

Sharks are also a vital member of the ocean ecosystem. As apex predators, the balance ecosystems and stop animals in the middle of the food chain from destroying life in the strata below.

Additional reporting by AP