Man killed in New Zealand shark attack

  • Published
Media caption,

Aerial footage appears to show the shark shortly after the attack

A shark has killed a man off a beach near the New Zealand city of Auckland.

The attack took place around 13:30 (00:30 GMT) on Wednesday at Muriwai Beach, to the west of the country's largest city.

The 47-year-old man was swimming when he was attacked. Police shot at the shark before it disappeared, they said in a statement.

Shark attacks are rare in New Zealand. Only 11 fatal attacks had taken place since records began in 1847, TVNZ said.

The last confirmed shark fatality was in 1976 in the Bay of Plenty, south-east of Auckland, it said.

Image caption,
The beach where the man was attacked has been closed

A police statement said that the man suffered fatal injuries in the attack.

"Police and surf life savers went out in two IRBs (inflatable rescue boats) and fired on the shark. It rolled over and disappeared," Inspector Shawn Rutene said.

The statement said the shark was thought to be about 12-14 feet (3.6-4.2m) long.

Fisherman Pio Mose told Stuff news website: "All of a sudden... we saw the shark fin and next minute, boom, attack him, then blood everywhere on the water."

Mr Mose said the man was still alive when "we saw another attack pull him in the water". Other local reports also said more than one shark may have been involved.

It is still unclear what species of shark attacked the man, but officials say great whites had recently been reported in the area.

The man's body had been recovered, said police while the beach and others nearby were closed.

Clinton Duffy, a shark expert from New Zealand's Department of Conservation, told the Associated Press news agency that such attacks are rare.

"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 added, saying that sharks ignore people "99% of the time".