Fatal shark attack at Waihī Beach in Bay of Plenty

A woman has died after an incident at Waihī Beach, with initial indications suggesting she has been injured by a shark.

Emergency services were called to the scene about 5.10pm after reports of a woman being injured in the water, police said in a statement.

The woman died at the scene a short time later and the incident will be referred to the Coroner.

St John sent two ambulances, a first response unit, and a helicopter to the scene initially, a spokeswoman told the Herald.

In July 2019, a 2m-long shark washed up dead at Waihī Beach.

And 13 months ago a massive great white shark was spotted by people on a boat near Waihī Beach.

It was estimated the shark was about 3.5m-long.

Waihī Beach was also closed down in January 2014 after a shark was a small shark was spotted near the shoreline.

The beach was closed after lifeguards and swimmers spotted the shark.

In February, 2013, father-of-one Adam Strange was killed after he was attacked by a shark off Muriwai Beach.

The 46-year-old had been out swimming when he was attacked.

A policeman later fired up to 12 shots at the killer shark as bids were made to retrieve Strange’s body.

The police Eagle helicopter spotted the shark while it was still attacking Mr Strange and stayed above until officers got to the beach.

One was sent out on the water in an inflatable rescue boat with three lifeguards.

It is understood that when the inflatable got to Strange, the shark still had him in its grip. He was already dead. The officer used a M4 Bushmaster rifle to shoot at the shark to get it to release the body.

Witness Pio Mose told the Herald at the time that was fishing with a group of men on the rocks when he saw the “huge” shark attack Strange just 50m away. “All of a sudden there was blood everywhere.”

Mose said he saw Strange struggle with the shark before it swam away. He was keeping his head above the water before the shark returned.

“I yelled at him to swim to the rocks.”Mose watched helplessly as the shark took Strange’s body out to sea, and when lifeguards arrived, he directed them to the group of sharks.

“It’s awful – it’s scary like a nightmare to me. All I was thinking was I wanted to jump in the water and help but I didn’t want to get attacked by a shark too.”

A resident who lives above Maori Bay saw the drama unfolding.

“Then I saw the IRB on the water and heard the explosions and saw water flying up. They were shooting at the shark in an effort to get it to release the body.

“There would have been up to 10 to a dozen shots fired – some in very quick succession.”

Up to 2014, there had been 12 reported fatal shark attacks in New Zealand.

More to come.

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