AUCKLAND // A shark possibly four-metres long killed a swimmer near a popular New Zealand beach today, then disappeared after police attempting to save the man fired gunshots at the fish.
Muriwai Beach near Auckland was closed after the fatal attack, one of only about a dozen in New Zealand in the past 180 years.
Pio Mose, who was fishing at the beach, told The New Zealand Herald he saw the swimmer struggle against the "huge" shark. He told the man to swim to the rocks, but it was too late.
"All of a sudden there was blood everywhere. I was shaking, scared, panicked."
Police Inspector Shawn Rutene said the swimmer was about 200 metres offshore when the shark attacked. He said police went out in inflatable surf-lifesaving boats and shot at the shark, which they estimate between 4- and 4.2-metres long.
"It rolled over and disappeared," Inspector Rutene said, without saying whether police are certain that they killed the creature.
Police recovered the body of the swimmer. The Herald reported that he was Adam Strange, 46, a television and short film director.
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 hot spot for great white sharks, and other potentially lethal species also inhabit the waters.