Sharks close beach in Coromandel
Beachgoers have been cleared from the shores of a Coromandel beach after sightings of sharks, which are still in the area.
Pauanui beach was closed after eight to 10 sharks were spotted close to shore. It is not yet known what type of sharks they were.
The first reports came from stand up paddlers around 2pm, and lifeguards closed the beach once they confirmed the sightings.
Pauanui lifeguard Ben McKenzie estimated there were 10 sharks in the area but said they were in a couple of different groups.
"They were moving about, but there were also a couple of different groups. So they were in different places like the north of the beach and inside the flags too," he said.
"Obviously some people were a little bit frightened, but everyone's fine."
Lifesaving protocol was to wait an hour after the last sighting before reopening the beach, he said.
Because sharks were still in the area, the beach would be closed for at least another hour; lifeguards have done a run up and down the beach to make sure everyone was aware.
This was the third time the beach had been closed after shark sightings since patrols began on December 23, he said.
The sighting follows others along that stretch of coastline in the last few weeks.
Late last month there were three reported sightings of sharks near Waihi Beach, with the beach being forced to close on Christmas Eve when a shark was spotted just outside the lifeguard patrol flags.
Just this week a Bronze Whaler shark was spotted at Papamoa Beach.