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Waihi Beach open despite suspected shark attack

The Bowentown end of Waihi Beach is empty this morning. Image: Ricky Wilson/Stuff.

Waihi Beach remains open today following a fatal suspected shark attack.

Council has decided not to close Bowentown and Waihi Beach, Surf Life Saving have confirmed in a statement.

A woman believed to be in her early 20s was pulled from the ocean just after 5pm yesterday and despite emergency services performing vigorous CPR she died at the scene.

Observational patrols will take place at Bowentown but flags will not be put out, however flagged patrols will take place at Waihi Beach and Island View and patrols will resume as normal from tomorrow.

A rāhui has been put in place spanning the north end of Waihi Beach down to Bowentown Heads and in the harbour to Ongare, Tuapiro and Tanner Point.

The rāhui prohibits the collection of shellfish and all fishing and will remain in place until January 15 at 7am

“Our collective thoughts are with the Surf Lifeguards involved in this tragic incident, as well as with the patient’s whānau and loved ones,” says a statement from Surf Life Saving NZ.

Eastern Waikato Area Commander Inspector Dean Anderson says police would like to acknowledge the young woman and her family and friends at this very difficult time.

Police are not in a position to release her personal details but will do so in consultation with her family when appropriate, he says.

“We are also not able to confirm the cause of her death, however as already reported, indications are that she had been injured by a shark.”

A post mortem is scheduled to be carried out today and this will provide police with a clearer understanding of what happened but the Coroner will ultimately determine the cause of her death, he says.

“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.

“I would like to acknowledge the emergency service responders who went to her aid including the Waihī Beach Surf Life Saving Club members, Ambulance and a holidaying GP who provided medical aid, Fire and Emergency NZ, the Waihi Beach Coastguard and police staff.

“Our thanks and appreciation also go to our local Iwi from the Otawhiwhi Marae for blessing the area with a Karakia and for the compassion and care they showed for the victim and her friends.”

 
Posted by Surf Life Saving New Zealand on Thursday, January 7, 2021

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