As many as four sharks may have been involved in a fatal attack on a swimmer at Muriwai Beach this afternoon.
A witness told 3 News he spotted the lone swimmer whilst he was out fishing at the beach, on Auckland’s west coast, shortly before 2pm.
The distressed man - believed to be in his 40s - signalled for help when he was attacked by a shark, before he was pulled underwater.
At this point, the witness says three or four other sharks appeared in the area.
It is understood police in an inflatable boat used a firearm to drive the sharks away from the swimmer, who died from his injuries. The witness says “dozens” of shots were fired.
The body of the victim is now back with his family, who are said to be very upset. It is not known if he was a local.
There are unconfirmed reports the body of one of the sharks has been removed from the water.
Auckland Council has closed Muriwai Regional Park and expects it to be closed for the next few days. All North Manukau beaches including Karekare and Piha are also closed.
A helicopter will
patrol the coastline this evening attempting to locate the shark. Lifeguard
presence will be increased on the beaches, as well as mobile patrols in the
water until Friday when the situation will be reassessed.
There have been 44 recorded unprovoked attacks in New Zealand since 1852, 11 of those have been fatal. The last fatal attack was in 2009.
Fatal shark attacks in NZ:
- 1852 Wellington Harbour
- 1886 Napier
- 1896 Kumara
- 1907 Moeraki
- 1964 St Clair, Dunedin
- 1966 Oakura
- 1966 Manukau Harbour
- 1967 St Kilda, Dunedin
- 1967 Moeraki
- 1968 Aramoana Mole
- 1976 Te Kaha
- 2009 Whangamata*
- 2013 Muriwai Beach
* Unconfirmed whether kayaker Maurice Phillips had drowned before being attacked
Source: Te Ara: the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
Watch the video for the full report from Campbell Live.