Teen Killed in Rare Fatal Shark Attack in New Zealand

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2021 1:31 PM CST
In New Zealand, a Rare Fatal Shark Attack
A woman prepares to lay flowers on a beach following a shark attack at Bowentown near Waihi in New Zealand, on Friday.   (George Novak/Bay of Plenty Times via AP)

A young woman has died in what is thought to be New Zealand's first fatal shark attack since 2013. Kaelah Marlow, 19, was swimming with friends at Waihi Beach on North Island on Thursday when she was attacked by what one onlooker described as a great white shark, reports the BBC. Others described hearing a scream. Marlow—an Australian native who moved with her family to New Zealand five years ago, per the Australian—was alive when lifeguards recovered her around 5pm local time, but died at the scene. She suffered injuries to her legs, according to the Guardian.

"You hear about shark attacks, but never in a million years do you think it will be someone you know," says an aunt of Marlow, per the New Zealand Herald. Researcher Kina Scollay says "sharks are reasonably common near all northern beaches of New Zealand" but "even species considered dangerous very rarely interact with swimmers," per the BBC. New Zealand's last recorded shark attack was in 2018. It's seen just 13 fatal attacks over the last 170 years, according to the country's conservation department. A weeklong "rahui, a traditional Maori prohibition restricting access to an area," is in place on the beach, per the BBC. A shark was spotted 4 miles from there on Friday afternoon, though it's unclear if it was the same one involved in the attack, notes Stuff. (Read more shark attack stories.)

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