New Zealand shark attack – Women, 19, mauled to death by Great White as witness reveals moment beast pulled her under
8th January 2021

A TEENAGER who was mauled to death by a Great White shark was pulled under the water in front of terrified witnesses.

Kaelah Marlow, 19, was attacked by the beast while swimming in New Zealand, and suffered fatal bites to one of her legs.

Marlow was reportedly dragged from the water alive after the attack. Police officers said the woman’s injuries indicated she had been bitten by a shark, with bite wounds to at least one of her legs. 

Paramedics administered CPR to the woman on Waihī Beach, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, to no avail.

"Police extend our deepest sympathies to Kaelah's family and loved ones at this very difficult time," police said in a statement.

A woman who was in the water just five metres away from the shark attack victim said Marlow was pulled out by a rip before the fatal attack. 

Amanda Gould told local news outlet Stuff she had been swimming waist-deep with her husband and two boys when she saw the victim get separated from her group of friends, and pulled out into deep water.

“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.”

Gould hadn’t felt comfortable in the water, so decided to head back into the shore.

From there, Gould witnessed the young woman begin to struggle.

“No one saw her waving out, but I did hear a scream,” she said.

Lifeguards then scrambled to her aid, taking about five minutes to reach her in the rescue boat due to the choppy water.

“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 a lifeguard said there was a shark in the water and Gould realised what happened.

“I didn’t see any blood… she was alive and when they got to shore. They started CPR straight away.”

It was chaos, Gould said, there were people panicking.

“It was shocking, surreal, and we were all a bit freaked out…it keeps playing on my mind,” she said.

Another onlooker who witnessed the rescue attempts on Thursday evening told the New Zealand Herald a man was being comforted by an emergency services member nearby, as others worked to save Marlow.

"Watching them try to save the young woman without success and seeing the man's white face was a very traumatic, harrowing experience," he said.

After CPR efforts stopped, a man walked some 50 metres into the sea and began splashing water over himself.

A post mortem for the deceased, who was believed to have been an Australian national, was being carried out on Friday 8, while a rāhui had been placed around the area by local iwi. 

The woman’s family had gathered to mourn at a Coastguard building on the beach, where her body was believed to be laying. A group of locals and holidaymakers lit candles on the beach and had drinks in Marlow’s memory.

The attack was highly unusual for New Zealand, where the last fatal shark attack was in 2013.

In this incident, filmmaker Adam Hunter Strange was killed while training for a swimming race at Muriwai Beach in west Auckland.

In 2009, a capsized kayaker was apparently bitten by a Great White Shark in Whangamata, another beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel peninsula.

Since the mid-1800s, there have been just 12 fatal shark attacks in New Zealand.

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