A 46-year-old swimmer has been killed in a rare shark attack off New Zealand’s Muriwai beach.

Father-of-one Adam Strange was fatally injured by the shark, believed to be a great white measuring up to 14 feet long.

Fisherman Pio Mose saw the attack unfold.

adam strange and baby

Father-of-one Adam Strange died in a shark attack off New Zealand's Muriwai beach

He told the New Zealand Herald: “All of a sudden there was blood everywhere.

“I yelled at him to swim to the rocks. There was blood everywhere. The water was red. It's awful - it's scary like a nightmare to me. I was shaking, scared, panicked."

Police Inspector Shawn Rutene told reporters his team went out in inflatable surf-lifesaving boats and shot at the shark, which they estimate was 12 to 14 feet long and "very broad" in an attempt to retrieve Mr Strange's body.

"It rolled over and disappeared," Rutene said, without saying whether police are certain that they killed the creature.

Shark expert Clinton Duffy told the Associated Press that although New Zealand is a popular area for great whites, attacks are rare.

shark attack

Police in a dinghy shoot at the shark in an attempt to retrieve Mr Strange's body

He said: "There are much lower levels of shark attacks here than in Australia.

Referring to New Zealand’s cooler climate, he added: "It's possibly a function of how many people are in the water.”

Duffy, who works for the Department of Conservation, estimated only 12 to 14 people have been killed by sharks in New Zealand since record-keeping began in the 1830s.

New Zealand’s 3News reports as many as four sharks may have been involved in the attack, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Mr Strange's wife Meg, who is the mother of his baby daughter, is being comforted by friends and neighbours.

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  • Police comfort a woman believed to be a family member of a man attacked by a shark at Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Police said a man was found dead in the water after being "bitten by a large shark." (AP Photo/Ross Land) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO SALES

  • Aerial

    In this aerial photo, emergency vehicles are parked at Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water Wednesday afternoon after being "bitten by a large shark." Police and surf lifesavers recovered the man's body. The police statement said Muriwai Beach near the city of Auckland has been closed. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Chris Gorman) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT

  • Police in inflatable rubber boats shoot at a shark off Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, as they attempt to retrieve a body following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water after being "bitten by a large shark." (AP Photo/Ross Land) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO SALES

  • Police in inflatable rubber boats shoot at a shark off Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, as they attempt to retrieve a body following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water after being "bitten by a large shark." (AP Photo/Ross Land) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO SALES

  • Police in inflatable rubber boats shoot at a shark off Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, as they attempt to retrieve a body following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water after being "bitten by a large shark." (AP Photo/Ross Land) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO SALES

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: Police Inspector Shawn Rutene speaks to media outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • Shark Attack Ends Fatally At Muriwai Beach

    AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 27: People grieve outside the Muriwai Surf Lifesaving Club after a swimmer died in a fatal shark attack at Muriwai Beach on February 27, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. The victim was a local Muriwai man who was swimming several hundred metres from the shore at the time of the attack. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

  • AERIAL

    Muriwai Beach near Auckland, New Zealand, is seen from the air Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, following a fatal shark attack. Police said a man was found dead in the water Wednesday afternoon after being "bitten by a large shark." Police and surf lifesavers recovered the man's body. The police statement said Muriwai Beach near the city of Auckland has been closed. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Chris Gorman) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT