CBS News reports that a shark as long as 14 feet swam alongside Strange as he was surfing and then attacked. Police attempted to intervene by hopping aboard small life-saving boats and shooting at the shark, but the predator quickly vanished after killing the film director.
According to an interview with local fisherman Pio Mose, who witnessed the attack, the shark was simply too large and strong for Strange to resist. Mose said he told Strange to swim toward nearby rocks, but the shark had already overpowered him.
"All of a sudden there was blood everywhere. … It's awful - it's scary like a nightmare to me. I was shaking, scared, panicked," Mose told the NZ Herald. "All I was thinking was I wanted to jump in the water and help but I didn't want to get attacked by a shark too."
Mose, who has been fishing in the area for years, said he had never once seen a shark while out fishing. The shark that attacked Strange was roughly 650 feet offshore.
The incident occurred around 1:24 p.m. local time. Soon after horrified onlookers reported a man being attacked by a shark, police appeared on the scene in an inflatable rescue boat and a helicopter. Police opened fire at the shark in an attempt to save Strange, but ultimately they could not stop the film director’s death.
Initially, local police declined to name the victim of the attack, though after the body was recovered and identified, the Herald reported that the man was Adam Strange, who has directed several television shows and short films.
Strange’s website states that he is an avid surfer and a fan of riding “big waves out on the West Coast.” A local volunteer lifeguard said the he was very close to Strange and he often saw him out surfing.
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service chairman Tim Jago called the incident “traumatizing.”
"This is something completely shocking," Jago told the NZ Herald.
As a result of the shark attack, all of the beaches on the west coast of Auckland have been closed until further notice.