Saturday , October 1 2022

Deadly shark attack on Waihī beach: “Extreme pain” after Kaelah Marlow, a woman from Hamilton, killed



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A beach enthusiast described the traumatic scenes on Bowentown Beach, while lifeguards bravely tried to save a woman who died from her injuries in a shark attack.

Police last night named the victim as 19-year-old Kaelah Marlow from Hamilton.

Marlow moved to New Zealand five years ago with her parents, Robert and Michelle, and 17-year-old sister Georgia, her aunt Kylie French told Western Australia.

“I’m just in shock, everyone is in shock. We can’t get there, my mother can’t get there,” she said.

“You hear about shark attacks, but never, in a million years, do you think there will be anyone you know. Obviously, she went out with her friends having fun. . “

Police named the victim who died in the shark attack on Waihī Beach as 19-year-old Kaelah Marlow.  Photo / Supplied
Police named the victim who died in the shark attack on Waihī Beach as 19-year-old Kaelah Marlow. Photo / Supplied

Marlow lived in Cambridge and worked on a farm after previously studying an apprenticeship in commerce, the Frenchwoman said.

The family had lived in Perth before moving to Tom Price for Marlow’s father’s mining work.

He and Marlow’s mother and sister moved to Dunedin last Christmas and traveled yesterday morning to identify Marlow.

The attack took place on Thursday after 17:00, and emergency services soon flooded the area, which is near Waihī.

It is understood that Marlow was taken out of the water alive and the paramedics desperately administered CPR on the beach, but could not save her life.

Among those at the beach yesterday was Matt Lawry, who remembered looking at her as they worked to save Marlow. He told the Weekend Herald that a man was comforted by nearby emergency services personnel.

Bowentown Beach, where the deadly shark attack took place on Thursday.  Photo / George Novak
Bowentown Beach, where the deadly shark attack took place on Thursday. Photo / George Novak

“Seeing them try to save the young woman without success and see the man’s white face was a very traumatic, awful experience,” Lawry said.

After the CPR efforts stopped, a man walked about 50 m to 70 m into the sea and began splashing water on himself, Lawry said.

“I can’t stop thinking about the extreme pain I saw on his face when he left the beach.”

Lawry, who is from Kaipaki in Ohaupo, was on holiday at Bowentown Beach and said a few sharks were spotted near the shore last week.

Tadhg Stopford saw the man entering the ocean and said he stayed there for a few minutes.

“His entry into the sea was a challenge, I think, for the shark who had stolen the life of his loved one.

“With my children around me, I felt his loss.”

A man pays tribute to the shark victim on Bowentown Beach.  Photo / George Novak
A man pays tribute to the shark victim on Bowentown Beach. Photo / George Novak

The last fatal shark attack in the Gulf of Plenty took place at Te Kaha in 1976. 27-year-old John Leith died after being attacked while fishing under a boat.

The Iwi of the Otawhiwhi Marae blessed the area with a karakia and placed a rāhui, banning shellfish gathering, all fishing and swimming on the beach until next Friday.

Trails of people visited the beach to pay their respects yesterday at Marlow and several brought floral tributes.

A post-mortem examination was performed yesterday, and the police hoped that the results would give a clearer picture of what had happened.

However, the coroner will eventually determine the cause of Marlow’s death, said Inspector Dean Anderson, commander of the eastern Waikato area.

“We appreciate that her death was extremely traumatic for those who were on Waihī Beach yesterday, and we offer victim support services to anyone who requests it,” Anderson said.

Many mourners left flowers to the shark victim.  Photo / George Novak
Many mourners left flowers to the shark victim. Photo / George Novak

The beach initially opened yesterday morning, after the local councils signed the decision not to close it to the public.

However, iwi stepped in and introduced rāhui, which stretches from the northern end of Waihī Beach to Bowentown Heads and Ongare, Tuapiro and Tanner Pt.

Surf Lifesaving, the rescue director of the New Zealand East Region, Chaz Gibbons-Campbell, said swimming would be allowed in certain areas of the beach.

Local Kaumātua, surf club officials, Bay of Plenty Port Manager Jon Jon Peters, and representatives of the Lifesaving NZ Surf District Council and Western Bay of Plenty made the decision, Gibbons-Campbell said.

The signs would inform the public of where they could swim safely and urged people to continue to observe the rāhui still in force at the end of Bowentown Beach.

Maori spokesman and Otawhiwhi Marae Trust spokesman Shaan Kingi said the one-week grouper was appropriate because there was a lot of blood on the beach and in the water.

The local Iwi in Otawhiwhi Marae installed a rahui in the area yesterday, while mourners left flowers for the victim.  Photo / George Novak
The local Iwi in Otawhiwhi Marae installed a rahui in the area yesterday, while mourners left flowers for the victim. Photo / George Novak

The area where the woman was attacked was “very crappy” and extra time was needed to allow the blood to be cleaned.

More than 15 emergency services respondents took part in the attack and gathered for karakia with kaumātua from the marae, Kingi said.

Tapp Cooper, the director of Waihī Māori, said it was “quite shocking” to learn of the deadly shark attack. “Around 13.30 I was here with my grandchildren swimming nicely.

“It was a little overcast and a little rough, but it was warm and others swam.”

Feelings were shared by local Graeme Rackham, who said that death made you “reflect who you are.”

The Hamilton man, Kelvin Whiting, Karen’s wife and his two children were among those who left bouquets of flowers on the beach.

“It’s so sad and tragic. My heart goes out to the young woman’s family.

People pay their respects to the Bowentown Beach shark victim.  Photo / George Novak
People pay their respects to the Bowentown Beach shark victim. Photo / George Novak

“I still can’t believe it. I had a ferry for 32 years and what happened is so close to home.

“It’s just terribly sad.”

Shark scientist Riley Elliott said it’s hard to speculate which species of sharks attacked Marlow without all the facts.

However, there has been evidence of minor and immature whites in the area since last summer.

Bronze whalers were more common than the great whites in the area, but they hadn’t attacked a man in a long time, Elliott said.

“It’s very unusual to have shark attacks in New Zealand – generally in the world, especially in the deadly ones.

“Shark attacks are incredibly rare … If you look [a shark], stay calm, alert the people around you and calmly release the water. “

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