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08 January 2021 08:37

A 19-year-old woman who died in a New Zealand shark attack has been identified as Australian Kaelah Marlow.

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A woman died after reportedly being attacked by a great white shark - with witnesses describing horror screams of panic from the water. The woman, reported to be in her 20s, suffered fatal bite wounds to her legs while in the water at Bowentown Beach, in Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Emergency services were called to the scene on where they performed "vigorous CPR" on the victim, according to local reports. Locals held a vigil at the beach on Thursday evening, local time, in memory of the victim. Witness Elliot Hall said he had heard the victim was seen swimming just past the breaking waves when she started screaming.

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(Image: Getty Images/Image Source) 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. (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 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.

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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. 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.

Kaelah Marlow, 19, from Hamilton, was the young woman who died after a shark attack. Credit:Stuff NZ Ms Marlow, from Hamilton on New Zealand's North Island, was understood to have gotten into trouble at the beach while swimming. Witness Amanda Gould told stuff.co.nz that she was swimming in waist-deep water when she saw Ms Marlow get separated from her friends, pulled out to deeper waters by a strong rip. "We were in the water at the same time as the girl and her friends... they were about five metres in front of us, but they kept getting further and further out," Gould said. "She got separated from all her friends and was pulled really far out, beyond where the surfers would sit." Ms Gould said when she left the water, she saw Ms Marlow struggling. "No one saw her waving out, but I did hear a scream." Lifeguards came to Ms Marlow's aid, using a rescue boat to pull her from the water. Witnesses said the victim was pulled out in a strong current before she was bitten by a shark, believed to be a great white. Credit:Stuff NZ "It was so rough and every time they tried to push the boat out it kept coming back in." It wasn't until the victim was pulled from the water, and taken to shore, that Ms Gould realised what happened. "I thought there was another person out there, but the lifeguard said 'no, that's a shark, we need to get people out of the water'." A vacationing doctor joined paramedics, lifeguards and emergency services personnel in attempting to save the woman, Inspector Anderson said. "It was shocking, surreal, and we were all a bit freaked out...it keeps playing on my mind," Ms Gould said. It's so shocking that someone's life can be taken away just by that one event, one minute she's swimming and the next she's pulled out and then that happened. Stuff understands that the victim had bite wounds to at least one of her legs and that the shark involved was a great white. Kina Scollay, a founding member of New Zealand's Great White Shark Project, said news of the attack was "absolutely terrible". "It's a very rare thing. There's plenty of sharks in the ocean not hunting people, it doesn't happen very often." Scollay said at this time of year at Waihī Beach, there generally were a lot of sharks around the shallows, but they were almost exclusively sharks that were not likely to hurt people. White sharks were also around coastlines at this time of year, he said. 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." Waihī Beach is a coastal town with a population of about 2700 people. The last fatal shark attack in New Zealand was in February 2013 when a 46-year-old swimmer was mauled at Muriwai Beach, 41 kilometres west of Auckland. A 19-year-old woman who died in a New Zealand shark attack has been identified as Australian Kaelah Marlow. The teenager was fatally attacked by a shark at Waihi Beach just after 5pm on Thursday. Marlow grew up in Perth and moved to New Zealand five years ago with her parents and 17-year-old sister, The West Australian reports. New Zealand Police in a brief statement said Marlow had been residing in Hamilton, a city in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. "Police extended our deepest sympathies to Kaelah's family and loved ones at this very difficult time," New Zealand Police said on Friday. Emergency services raced to Waihi Beach on Thursday afternoon, including two ambulances, a first response unit and a rescue helicopter, The New Zealand Herald reports. Kaelah Marlow, 19, has been named as the victim of a shark attack at Waihi Beach in New Zealand on January 7. Credit: New Zealand Police Chevron Right Icon More from 7NEWS.com.au WASHINGTON CHAOS Police officer dies from injuries after clashing with pro-Trump mob at US Capitol The officer's death means five people have now lost their lives in the riots. However, the helicopter was stood down once it was determined the 19-year-old had died after lifeguards spent 20 minutes performing CPR to no avail. Marlow was reportedly pulled out by a strong rip in rough seas before the fatal shark attack. A witness said a man on the beach walked into the ocean after the woman had died. "His entry into the sea was a challenge, I guess, to the shark who had stolen the life of his loved one," the witness said. Kaelah Marlow was fatally mauled by a shark in New Zealand. The shark was a great white, according to Stuff NZ. Marlow grew up in the Perth foothills suburb of Forrestfield before her family moved to Tom Price for her father's mining work. She returned to Perth to board at St Brigid's College in Lesmurdie until the family moved to New Zealand. Marlow's aunt Kylie French told The West Australian the entire family was "in shock." "You hear about shark attacks but never in a million years do you think it'll be someone you know. The last fatal shark attack in New Zealand was at Muriwai Beach in 2013.

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