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
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1900 GMT (0300 HKT)
Presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and royals joined tens of thousands of South Africans to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
President Obama pays tribute at the Mandela Memorial: "Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done," he said.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Until he returned home this weekend, Merrill Newman -- an American held in North Korea -- had no idea what a story he'd become.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 0246 GMT (1046 HKT)
Transportation throughout the inhospitable Arctic region may soon be revolutionized.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1430 GMT (2230 HKT)
There were no genetic tests 400,000 years ago, so our ancient relatives didn't know as much about themselves as we know about them now.
Theme parks, sports stadiums, and city squares are among the most popular destinations that people checked into on Facebook in 2013.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
At a time when many have lost faith in the global financial system, Bitcoin is being hailed as the future of e-commerce.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Actress Eleanor Parker, nominated for three Oscars and known for her "Sound of Music" role, died Monday at 91, her family said.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Director and actor Charlie Chaplin made Virginia Cherrill perform one scene -- in which she says just two words in a silent film -- 342 times.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Each volunteer at Yekokeb Berhan in Ethiopia will take in 25 disadvantaged children as her own.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
The Web is set to change our lives over the next decade. This will also question the use of personal data and balancing new powers with ethics.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
Today's five most popular stories