February 28, 2013 at 14:45 PM EST
New Zealand Shark Attack Leave Film Director Adam Strange Dead

Award-winning TV and short film director Adam Strange died this week in a shark attack in New Zealand. Thought to be the first shark attack in the country in 37 years, the tragic incident took place Wednesday off of Muriwai Beach just west of Auckland.

According to reports, 46-year-old Strange was swimming about 220 yards offshore when he spotted a large shark believed to be about 14 feet long. Eyewitness Pio Mosie, who was on the beach fishing, said Strange screamed “A shark!” just before the shark attacked.

"He yelled out 'a shark!' and then we looked up, there was blood everywhere and the shark was still attacking. Then the shark stopped attacking, he put his head up, and we yelled out at him to swim over to the rock, and he raised his hand up … and next minute he went down, the shark pulled him down. He came up again with his head under the water, and then we knew he was dead,” Mosie said.

Police rushed to Strange in inflatable boats, but they were too late to save him. Some officers pulled his body from the water as others fired several shots at the shark. Inspector Shawn Rutene said the animal, believed to be a great white shark, “rolled over and disappeared.”

Strange was training for an annual endurance swim from Auckland to Rangitoto Island. His longtime friend Adam Stevens said Strange planned to swim about a mile on Wednesday. Strange leaves behind his wife, Meg, and a 2-year-old daughter. "We are in deep shock and are still trying to contact overseas family members,” his family said in a statement.

After the attack, authorities closed Muriwai Beach and several other nearby beaches. They will remain closed until Saturday.

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