04/20/2012 10:16 am ET Updated Apr 21, 2012

Giant Shark Kills South African David Lillienfeld After Biting Off His Leg

The family and friends of a 20-year-old bodyboarder in Cape Town, South Africa, are mourning his death, which occurred Thursday after a giant shark attacked.

David Lillienfeld was in the water with his brother, Gustav, when the shark struck, SkyNews reported. Although Gustav tried to pull his brother to safety, David died after the shark, who was estimated to be 16-feet long, bit off his leg.

Craig Lambinon of South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute said the missing limb was the only damage to Lillienfeld's body.

"There are no other bite marks or lacerations on the deceased man's body - only the complete amputation of the right leg and the leg has not been recovered," he said.

ANIMALS IN THE NEWS GALLERY (Story continues below)

Animals In The News

Lillienfeld represented South Africa at the World Bodyboard Championship in the Canary Islands, according to Global Post. The Global Post also said some are blaming his death, in part, on documentary filmmaker Chris Fischer, who had been filming Shark Men, a program on the National Geographic channel, in waters near Cape Town.

Although South African environmental experts have said the series was a great opportunity for researchers and posed no danger to swimmers, some South Africans have accused Fischer's team of attracting sharks to swimming areas by releasing chum.

Lillienfeld's death is the second such attack in Cape Town in the last nine months. In September, a British man lost parts of both legs after he ignored warning flags on a beach that had been closed due to shark activity, The reported.

Nick Wegner, a shark expert at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, says shark attacks are very rare, but the best action when it happens is to be aggressive.

“If you are attacked by a shark,” he told Pacific magazine. “the best thing to do is gouge its eyeballs or gills or, better yet, get out of the water immediately.”

Meanwhile, a shark sighting with a happier ending -- for humans anyway -- occurred halfway around the world in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

On Sunday, a great white shark nearly 20 feet long and weighing 2,000 pounds was reportedly hooked by commercial fishermen in the Sea of Cortez in northwestern Mexico, Fox News reported.

The shark, which was dead when it was brought to the surface, was netted by fishermen named Guadalupe and Baltazar, who admit they were shocked by their massive catch. They towed it with their 22-foot-long ship two miles to the shore.

"We were amazed and immediately realized that we had a huge, dead, great white shark, " Guadalupe told reporters. "And then we thought 'what are we going to do?"

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled the victim's name.