Skip to main content

Swimmer killed in shark attack at New Zealand beach

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 7:47 AM EST, Wed February 27, 2013
People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack on February 27.
People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack on February 27.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "There was blood everywhere," an eyewitness says
  • A swimmer in his 40s is attacked about 200 meters offshore, police say
  • Police fire at the shark to get it away from the body
  • The attack took place at Muriwai Beach, west of Auckland

(CNN) -- By the time police officers reached the swimmer floating off a New Zealand beach, it was already too late: a large shark was biting the lifeless body.

The attack took place off a popular beach west of Auckland on Wednesday afternoon, police said, as people gathered there to enjoy the summer sunshine.

The victim was a man in his 40s. He was swimming 200 meters (220 yards) offshore near Muriwai Beach, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from central Auckland when the 12-to-14-foot shark struck.

"We saw him rolling around, there was blood everywhere on the water," Pio Mose, who was fishing nearby, told local broadcaster 3 News. Mose said he believed at least two other sharks had joined in the frenzy around the body after a few minutes.

The shark that attacked the swimmer was a great white, according to Russell Clark, a paramedic from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, which responded to the emergency at the beach.

Police officers and life guards on the scene went out in inflatable boats. When they fired at the shark they saw by the body, it "rolled over and disappeared," said Inspector Shawn Rutene.

Following the death, police closed the beach and several others nearby. Auckland Council said it expected the area to remain closed for the next few days.

Shark attacks kill about 25 people a year worldwide, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation. However, fatal attacks in the country's beaches have been rare.

There have been fewer than 20 shark attack deaths in more than 175 years in New Zealand, the agency said.

Twitter users expressed their condolences to the victim's family. Others worried about the risk of more attacks.

"Shark attack at Muriwai!!" exclaimed a user named Aaron Jeavons. "Won't be swimming there again!"

Report: Shark attacks up

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 5:51 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Yoga, meditation and watching a snake eat a frog alive: these are some of the experiences to be had at this Himalayan yoga retreat.
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province, experts say.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT