A young woman has died after a rare suspected shark attack in New Zealand.
The victim was rushed out of the water still alive but died at the scene despite efforts to save her life. Police said it appeared she had been injured by a shark.
The attack happened at Waihi Beach on North Island not far from the country’s biggest city Auckland.
Shark attacks are unusua in the country and it is thought to be the first fatality since 2013.
Local media cited witnesses as saying the woman had been swimming right in front of the lifeguard flags on Thursday.
When they heard screams, lifeguards went out by boat immediately and pulled her to shore.
New Zealand police have released a statement confirming the woman was injured in the water and that she died shortly after.
Authorities were not able to immediately confirm the cause of death, but said that “indications are that she had been injured by a shark”.
Police said the death was “extremely traumatic” for those who were at the scene.
A seven-day rahui, a traditional Maori prohibition restricting access to an area, has been placed on the beach.
It is not clear what kind of shark attacked the woman, but an eyewitness reportedly claimed it was a great white, a species which is protected in the waters around New Zealand.
The last recorded shark attack was in 2018 when a man was injured – but survived – at Baylys Beach.
Over the last 170 years, there have only been 13 fatal shark attacks documented in New Zealand, according to the country’s department of conservation.