A 19-year-old woman was mauled to death by a great white shark after being pulled out to sea by a rip current in New Zealand – and her relative later waded into the water to “defiantly” challenge the beast, according to reports.
Paramedics were unable to save Australian native Kaelah Marlow, 19, after she was attacked at Waihi Beach, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, about 5 p.m. Thursday, The Sun reported.
Witness Tadhg Stopford said a helicopter landed at the beach, where Marlow received CPR for several minutes.
“Vigorous CPR was being applied, and a troop of responders encircled the victim,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
After the life-saving efforts failed, a relative of Marlow waded into the ocean, Stopford told the outlet.
“The man roused himself and marched 100 meters into the sea,” he said. “His entry into the sea was a challenge, I guess, to the shark who had stolen the life of his loved one. He defiantly waded deep 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 pulled out by a rip 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 news outlet Stuff, The Sun reported.
“They were about five meters 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 said she saw Marlow begin to struggle.
“No one saw her waving out, but I did hear a scream,” she said. “I didn’t see any blood… she was alive and when they got to shore. They started CPR straight away.”
Gould added: “It was shocking, surreal, and we were all a bit freaked out. It keeps playing on my mind.”
Police on Friday and said the death would be referred to the coroner.
“Police extend our deepest sympathies to Kaelah’s family and loved ones at this very difficult time,” police said, according to news.com.au.
“We appreciate her death was extremely traumatic for those who were at Waihi Beach yesterday and we are offering victim support services to anyone who requires it.”
Marlow moved to New Zealand five years ago with her parents, Robert and Michelle, and 17-year-old sister Georgia, according to The West Australian.