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14-foot long shark kills New Zealand swimmer

The shark, which has not been identified, was shot at by police. Picture: Getty

The shark, which has not been identified, was shot at by police. Picture: Getty

  • by NAOMI TAJITSU
 

A SHARK up to 14 feet long killed a swimmer near a popular New Zealand beach yesterday, then disappeared after police attempting to save the man fired gunshots at the enormous predator.

Muriwai Beach, near Auckland, was closed after the fatal attack, one of only about a dozen in New Zealand in the past 180 years.

Police recovered the body of the victim, identified as Adam Strange, a 46-year-old television and short film director, the New Zealand Herald said.

Mr Strange won a Crystal Bear award for best short film at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

His family issued a statement expressing their shock and requesting privacy.

Pio Mose, who was fishing at the beach, told the Herald he saw the swimmer struggle against the huge shark. He told the man to swim to the rocks, but it was too late.

“We saw the shark fin, and the next minute, boom, the attack came. There was blood everywhere on the water,” he said.

“They fired six or seven shots to the shark, three from the police helicopter and a few shots from the lifeguard. I don’t know if they killed the shark or not,” he added.

Police Inspector Shawn Rutene said that the swimmer was about 650ft offshore when the shark attacked. He said police went out in inflatable boats and shot at the shark, which they estimated was 12 to 14 feet long.

“It rolled over and disappeared,” Mr Rutene said.

About 200 people had been enjoying the beach during the summer in the southern hemisphere at the time of the attack.

Police said Muriwai and other beaches nearby have been closed until further notice.

Police did not say what species of shark was involved in the attack.

Clinton Duffy, a shark expert with the Department of Conservation, said New Zealand is a hotspot for great white sharks, and other potentially lethal species also inhabit the waters.

Attacks are rare. Mr Duffy estimated that only 12 to 14 people have been killed by sharks in New Zealand since record-keeping began in the 1830s.

The last attack linked with a death was in 2009, when a kayaker was mauled by a great white off the nearby Coromandel Peninsula, although whether the victim drowned before the attack has been disputed.

“There are much lower levels of shark attacks here than in Australia,” Mr Duffy added. “It’s possibly a function of how many people are in the water.”

New Zealand has a cooler climate than Australia.

Mr Duffy said that during the summer, sharks often came in close to shore to feed and to give birth, although that doesn’t necessarily equate to a greater risk of attack.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the time they ignore people,” he said. “Sometimes, people get ­bitten.”

Around the world, sharks attacked humans 80 times last year, and seven people were killed, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. The death toll was lower than it was in 2011.

tement expressing their shock and

requesting privacy.

About 200 people had been enjoying the beach during the Southern Hemisphere summer at the time of the attack. Police said Muriwai and other beaches nearby have been closed until further notice.

Police did not say what species of shark was involved in the attack. Clinton Duffy, a shark expert with the Department of Conservation, said New Zealand is a hotspot for great white sharks, and other

potentially lethal species also inhabit the waters.

Attacks are rare. Duffy estimated that only 12 to 14 people have been killed by sharks in New Zealand since record-keeping began in the 1830s.

“There are much lower levels of shark attacks here than in Australia,” he said. “It’s possibly a function of how many people are in the water” in New Zealand’s cooler climate.

He said that during the Southern Hemisphere summer, sharks often come in closer to shore to feed and to give birth, although that doesn’t necessarily equate to a greater risk of attack.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time they ignore people,” he said.

“Sometimes, people get bitten.”

Around the world, sharks attacked humans 80 times last year, and seven people were killed, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File. The death toll was lower than it was

in 2011 but higher than the average of 4.4 from 2001 to 2010.

 

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