A 19-year-old woman who was dragged out to deeper waters and mauled to death by a great white shark in New Zealand has been named.
Kaelah Marlow died on Thursday at Waihi Beach with witnesses describing the horrific scene as people screamed in panic.
The teenager’s aunt Kylie French told The West Australian their entire family was “in shock.”
“We can’t get over there, mum can’t get over there,” she said.
“You hear about shark attacks but never in a million years do you think it’ll be someone you know.
“She was a lovely girl, a fun girl, always bubbly, into anything.”
Ms Marlow suffered fatal bite wounds to her legs while in the water near Western Bay of Plenty.
Lifeguards raced to the scene and dragged her from the water.
Emergency services were called to the scene on where they performed “vigorous CPR” on the victim, according to local reports.
Witness Elliot Hall said he had heard the victim was seen swimming just past the breaking waves when she started screaming.
Mr Hall said he watched paramedics perform CPR on the woman for around 20 minutes as family and friends gathered around her.
Another witness, Tadhg Stopford, said a man and a woman standing near the victim as she was treated appeared to be in “shocked distress”.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics she was sadly pronounced dead at the scene, reports New Zealand news site, Stuff.
After CPR efforts were stopped, Mr Stopford said the man stood near the victim in distress then walked into the sea and stayed there for several minutes.
As the tragedy unfolded, other swimmers in the water were ordered to evacuate as a rescue helicopter landed on the beach.
One swimmer, Mark Wilson, said sharks are often seen in the area and thought it may only be a matter of time before an incident happened.
Mr Wilson believed the shark involved was a pointer shark – otherwise known as a great white.
Attending the vigil held in the woman’s honour, he said: “It could have been any of us, so we just thought we’d have a drink for the person involved.”
While other locals said it was not unusual for sharks to be seen in the shallow waters at the beach, they are usually not harmful to swimmers.
Kina Scollay said: “It is unusual. At this time of year thousands of people are swimming off that area.
“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 transferred to the Coastguard building, where family members stayed until around 9:30pm.
Locals held a vigil at the beach on Thursday evening, local time, in memory of the victim.
This morning a people were arriving to leave flowers at the beach including one man who waded into the water scattering hydrangea petals.
Police said on Friday that it was New Zealand’s first fatal shark attack in eight years.