A woman died after she was reportedly attacked by a great white shark – witnesses reported horror screams of panic from the water.
The woman, who is reported to be over 20 years old, suffered fatal bite wounds on her leg in the water at Bowentown Beach in Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
According to local reports, emergency services were called to the location where they performed “vigorous CPR” on the victim.
Locals held a vigil on the beach on Thursday evening local time to remember the victim.
Witness Elliot Hall said he heard the victim was seen swimming briefly behind the waves when she started screaming.
Lifeguards ran to the scene and dragged them out of the water.
Hall said he watched paramedics perform CPR for the woman for about 20 minutes as family and friends gathered around her.
Another witness, Tadhg Stopford, said a man and woman standing near the victim when they were treated appeared to be in “shocked distress”.
Despite the best efforts of the paramedics, she was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene, reports the New Zealand news site. Stuff.
After CPR efforts ceased, Mr. Stopford said the man was in distress near the victim, then went into the sea and stayed there for a few minutes.
While the tragedy was unfolding, other swimmers in the water were ordered to evacuate when a rescue helicopter landed on the Baach.
One swimmer, Mark Wilson, said sharks are often seen in the area, thinking it might only be a matter of time before an incident occurred.
Mr. Wilson believed the affected shark was a pointer shark – also known as a great white shark.
As he attended the vigil in honor of the woman, he said, “It could have been any of us, so we just thought we were going to have a drink for the person concerned.”
While other locals said it was not uncommon for sharks to be seen in the shallow water on the beach, they are usually not harmful to swimmers.
Kina Scollay said, “It’s unusual. Thousands of people swim in this area at this time of year.
“In general, you shouldn’t have to worry about sharks. It’s just so tragic. My thoughts are with the woman’s family.”
The woman’s body was taken to the Coast Guard building, where the family members stayed until around 9:30 p.m.