Shark attack off ‘safe and vibrant’ beach sees woman in early 20s die on shore

A woman has died in a fatal shark attack at a popular and "safe" New Zealand beach, police say.

Cops scrambled to Waihi Beach, on New Zealand’s North Island, on Thursday after reports that someone had been injured in the water.

A statement from detectives said: “Initial indications suggest she may have been injured by a shark. Sadly she died at the scene a short time later."

Witnesses said she was pulled from the ocean with wounds to at least one leg.

Paramedics tried desperately to save her with ‘vigorous CPR’, Stuff.co.nz reported.

The victim, believed to be in her early 20s, was left laying on the beach at Waihi as mourners flocked to pay condolences.

A group of locals reportedly lit candles and held an impromptu gathering to pay respects.

One beachgoer, Elliot Hall, said that they were told by a local that the victim had been swimming just past the waves when she began screaming.

When she was pulled from the water she had bite marks on one leg.

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Paramedics battled for 20 minutes to save her, with terrified friends and family gathered around.

If confirmed, this will be the 25th fatal shark attack recored in New Zealand and the first in seven years.

In February 2013, father-of-one Adam Strange, 46, was killed by a shark while swimming at Auckland's Muriwai Beach.

The last non-fatal attack was in 2018, at Baylys Beach.

Waihi beach advertises itself as one of the “safest surf beaches” and home to a “vibrant and friendly beachside community.”

There are reports that juvenile Great Whites have been swimming in the area since last summer.

"The death will be reported to the coroner", police said.

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