A witness has described a police officer firing 20 shots at a shark which attacked and killed a person at Auckland’s Muriwai Beach today.

SHARK ATTACK: Auckland's Muriwai Beach, where the fatal incident took place.

SHARK ATTACK: Auckland’s Muriwai Beach, where the fatal incident took place.

Emergency staff confirmed the person’s body had been pulled from the water following the early afternoon attack. The dead shark had also been dragged on to the beach.

Wellington student, Stef McCallum, 18, said they were first aware something was wrong when a man ran across to the surf club to get help.

A woman told us a man had just been killed by a shark, she said.

“She said there was a big pool of blood in the water.”

McCallum said they saw a police officer go out in a surf boat and shoot the shark.

“He fired about 20 shots.”

Around 200 people were on the beach and people quickly ran.

“Everybody was evacuated from the water. Word of mouth, ‘shark’, and everybody left the water.”

TV3 reported from the beach that as many as three sharks may have been involved.

A witness told them he spotted the lone swimmer while he was out fishing at the beach, shortly before 2pm.

The distressed man signalled for help when he was attacked by a shark, before he was pulled underwater.

At this point, the witness said three or four other sharks appeared in the area.

A staff member at Sand Dunz dairy said people were coming into the dairy “speechless”.

“I’m shaking, I don’t really want to talk about it,” the shop assistant, who didn’t want to be named, said. “Everyone’s speechless.”

Earlier this week surfer Bourne Nobel Buiski posted on Facebook that there had been a “massive” shark spotted near surfers on Monday at Piha, 14 kilometres south of Muriwai.

He said that a local man ran out of the water “white faced and terrified”.

“He was saying that a great white, a massive great white had just swum right beside him,” Buiski said.

No one believed him, he said.

“As they are so rare here. There were about 60 people there, and no one came in.”

The beach was crowded with children from Glen Eden Intermediate and Avondale College, a Fairfax reporter on the scene said.

Auckland City Council said the beach had been closed for the day.

There have been 14 known fatal shark attacks in NZ, since records began around 1837, according to Department of Conservation shark expert, Clinton Duffy.

http://www.stuff.co.nz