AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — A shark possibly 14 feet long killed a swimmer near a popular New Zealand beach on Wednesday, 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.
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," Mose said. "... I was shaking, scared, panicked."
Police Inspector Shawn Rutene said in a statement that the swimmer, was about 200 meters (650 feet) offshore when the shark attacked. He said police went out in inflatable surf-lifesaving boats and shot at the shark, which they estimate was 12 to 14 feet long.
"It rolled over and disappeared," 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, a 46-year-old television and short film director, and that his family issued a statement 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.