Skip to main content

Swimmer killed in shark attack at New Zealand beach

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
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.
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
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
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