A teenager died after a rare suspected shark attack in New Zealand.
19-year-old, Kaelah Marlow, from Hamilton was taken out of the water still alive but died at the scene despite efforts to save her life. Police said it appeared she had been injured by a shark.
The attack happened at Waihi Beach on North Island not far from the country’s biggest city Auckland.
“Police extend our deepest sympathies to Kaelah’s family and loved ones at this very difficult time,” police said in a statement.
“We appreciate her death was extremely traumatic for those who were at Waihi Beach yesterday and we are offering victim support services to anyone who requires it,” the statement said.
Shark attacks are unusual in the country and this is thought to be the first fatality since 2013. Local media cited witnesses as saying the woman had been swimming right in front of the lifeguard flags on Thursday.
When they heard screams, lifeguards went out by boat immediately and pulled her to shore.
It is not clear what kind of shark attacked Kaelah Marlow, but an eyewitness reportedly claimed it was a great white, a species which is protected in the waters around New Zealand.
The last recorded shark attack was in 2018 when a man was injured – but survived – at Baylys Beach. Over the past 170 years, there have only been 13 fatal shark attacks documented in New Zealand, according to the country’s department of conservation.