Swimmer killed in shark attack at New Zealand beach
February 27, 2013 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack on February 27.
- 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
Part of complete coverage on
June 19, 2013 -- Updated 0059 GMT (0859 HKT)
A man who silently stood in Taksim Square and stared at a portrait of the founder of the modern Turkish state, drew hundreds to his vigil.
Among the more intriguing pieces of history in Chinese coastal province Fujian are the tulou: large, round, rammed-earth buildings dating back centuries.
June 18, 2013 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
NYU did a great favor not only for the Chinese dissident but also for both the U.S. and Chinese governments, writes James Millward.
June 19, 2013 -- Updated 1211 GMT (2011 HKT)
As Afghan forces formally take over security of the country, what is likely to be on the table when the U.S. and the Taliban meet for talks?
June 18, 2013 -- Updated 0314 GMT (1114 HKT)
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is laying low, but that's becoming increasingly difficult. CNN's Ian Lee reports.
June 17, 2013 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
Snipers are doing most of the fighting in one war-torn Damascus suburb in Syria. CNN's Fred Pleitgen finds that death can come any minute.
June 19, 2013 -- Updated 0337 GMT (1137 HKT)
Countries in the Middle East that have been spared political upheaval find themselves enmeshed in a different sort of battle of late...
June 18, 2013 -- Updated 0214 GMT (1014 HKT)
Chris Kreis talks exclusively to CNN's Piers Morgan about his trip on a whale shark's back.
June 18, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
From Charles Lindbergh's record-breaking landing to his solar flight, CNN takes a look back at the Paris Airshow's most memorable moments.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1040 GMT (1840 HKT)
Scenes of violent clashes between protesters and police may make visitors to Istanbul think twice. Is it time to cancel your trip?
Today's five most popular stories