Tragic shark attack death couldn't be prevented
An Auckland film-maker's death after a shark attack at Muriwai Beach was a tragic accident, a coroner has ruled.
Adam Hunter Strange, 47, died on February 27 after being attacked by a number of sharks while training for a race.
In a ruling released today, Coroner Morag McDowell found Strange died of exsanguination - rapid large volume blood loss - as a result of multiple injuries caused by shark bites.
McDowell also found that "given the rarity of this type of incident, no realistic preventative measures are either identifiable or called for".
On the day Strange was attacked, he was seen by a fisherman who was fishing on rocks half way between Maori Bay and Muriwai Beach about 1pm. He then went ashore at Muriwai Beach and spoke to friends, telling them he was in training.
The fisherman observed that on his return swim to Maori Bay, Strange was being followed by a lot of birds and there were schools of small fish around him.
About two minutes later, the fisherman heard splashing and Strange calling for help.
The fisherman could see a lot of blood in the in the water and a shark splashing around. He also said he saw more than one shark attack Strange who appeared limp and face down a short time later.
The fisherman called emergency services.
A friend of Strange's surfing at Muriwai also witnessed the attack.
Surf lifesavers were alerted to the attack and when they located Strange, they found a large 3-metre to 4m shark had hold of him.
They used their boats and oars to get the shark to release Strange and kept the shark at bay until police arrived.
At the time, Strange was lying facedown, had obvious injuries and appeared lifeless.
When police arrived on the scene, an armed officer fired shots at the shark which had continued to get to Strange.
Strange's body was recovered from the water shortly afterward.
A report provided to the coroner by Surf Life Saving New Zealand said there had not been a shark attack in the area for 30 years.
Surf Life Saving said it was not aware of any preventative measures which would prevent another shark attack but there was speculation at the time of Strange's death that shark nets would be installed.
The organisation said shark nets would be ineffective because the beach was 46 kilometres long and finished at the entrance of Kaipara Harbour - one of the largest in the world and a well-known breeding ground for sharks.
Surf Life Saving told the coroner it had worked with Auckland Council and the police to develop new protocols should another shark attack happen.