Paramedics were unable to save 19-year-old Australian Kaelah Marlow after she was attacked at Waihi Beach in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty around 5 p.m. Thursday, The Sun reported.
Witness Tadhg Stopford said a helicopter landed on the beach, where Marlow received CPR for several minutes.
“A vigorous CPR was applied and a troop of rescuers surrounded the victim,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
After the rescue efforts failed, a relative of Marlow waded into the ocean, Stopford said on the way out.
“The man woke up and walked 100 meters into the sea,” he said. “Getting into the sea was a challenge, I guess, for the shark that had stolen the life of its loved one. He defiantly waded into the sea and stayed there for several minutes.
Stopford added: “With my children around me, I felt his loss,” he added.
Amanda Gould, who was in the water at the time of the attack, said Marlow was torn apart by a tearing current that separated her from a group of friends.
“We were in the water at the same time as the girl and her friends,” she told local newspaper Stuff, The Sun reported.
“They were about five yards ahead of us, but they kept going farther and farther,” Gould said. “She broke up with all of her friends and was pulled far beyond where the surfers were sitting.”
Gould said she saw Marlow start to struggle.
“No one saw her waving, but I heard a scream,” she said. “I didn’t see any blood… she was alive and when they got ashore. They started CPR right away.
Gould added, “It was shocking, surreal, and we were all a little panicked. It keeps playing in my mind.
Police said the death would be referred to the coroner on Friday.
“Police express their deepest condolences to Kaelah’s family and loved ones at this very difficult time,” police said, according to news.com.au.
“We appreciate that his death was extremely traumatic for those who were at Waihi Beach yesterday and we are providing victim support services to anyone who needs it.”
Marlow moved to New Zealand five years ago with his parents, Robert and Michelle, and 17-year-old sister, Georgia, according to The West Australian.