Discuss as:

Film director killed by shark off New Zealand

A husband and father was attacked and killed by a shark in Auckland as he was swimming 650 feet from the shore. TODAY's Natalie Morales reports.

A man was attacked and killed by a shark Wednesday off the coast of New Zealand, police said.

Local media identified the victim as 46-year-old Adam Strange, an award-winning director of short films.

The victim was swimming about 200 yards offshore from Muriwai Beach, just west of Auckland, when he was attacked, New Zealand Police Inspector Shawn Rutene said.


Witnesses called police and lifeguards quickly jumped into action when the attack occurred about 1:30 p.m. local time Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday), but it was too late to save the man, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported.

Police and lifeguards quickly took to the water in inflatable rescue boats, and officers opened fire on the shark, which "rolled over and disappeared," Rutene said in his statement, adding that the shark was estimated to be 12 to 14 feet long.

Phil Walter / Getty Images

People grieve outside Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on Wednesday.

Authorities said they had closed Muriwai and nearby beaches as the investigation continued.

Shark attacks are uncommon in New Zealand, according to the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History.

According to the museum's International Shark Attack File, there had been just 48 confirmed attacks, eight of them fatal, since 1852. Those numbers did not include Wednesday's incident.

Neighboring Australia has had 510 confirmed attacks, 144 of them fatal, since 1700, according to the museum's figures, which it says were current as of Feb. 11.

In a biography on Strange's website, he described himself as an avid outdoorsman. 

"When I get a spare 5 minutes, I like to make a fruit smoothy, surf some big waves out on the West Coast," the site says.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Strange had a wife and a baby daughter. "The family are grieving the loss of a glorious and great father, husband and friend," the family said in a statement reported by the newspaper.

A short film by Strange, "Aphrodite's Farm," won a Crystal Bear award for Best Short Film for people over 14 at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, according to the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb.com.

Strange said in his biography that he had made television commercials before turning to short film.

Related:

Kill sharks before they attack humans? Australian state will do just that

Fatal shark attacks in 2011 at 20-year high

Great white sharks swimming to extinction?