Spate of shark sightings near Waihi Beach where fatal attack took place

A number of large sharks had been seen in recent days near the Bay of Plenty beach where a fatal shark attack took place yesterday.

A shark fin (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS

A woman in her 20s died at Waihi Beach after she was apparently attacked by a shark.

She was helped to shore by onlookers and given CPR, but sadly died at the scene.

Police acknowledge 'extremely traumatic' shark attack death at Waihi Beach, support being offered to family and witnesses

A number of large sharks had been spotted in the area recently, including one seen in the shallows at Waihi Beach on December 29.

Another large shark was observed near Bowentown Beach southeast of Waihi Beach this week.

A large shark seen in the first week of 2021, taken from the Bowentown lookout. Source: Louise Robertson

Department of Conservation shark expert Clinton Duffy said New Zealand has always been home to various shark species, and that they typically can be found in New Zealand waters more frequently over the summer.

"Shark attacks are very rare and are always a surprise, and of course tragic and traumatic," he said.

Duffy said he knows of about four documented great white sharks in the Bowentown area, all juveniles, which could easily be big enough to attack a person.

Other people in the area posted in the NZ Fishing Community Facebook page saying they had seen large bronze whalers in the area recently.