A man who captured dramatic footage of a police officer shooting at a shark which killed a man at Muriwai Beach has hailed the efforts of police and surf life savers.

Muriwai man Adam Strange, 46, was killed by the shark while swimming at the popular West Auckland beach yesterday afternoon.

Nigel Bradbury, from Kumeu, was at the beach with his daughter when the attack occurred.

"I was going to have a swim but we decided to have a picnic instead, and then we saw the inflatable [rescue boat] racing along the beach along with the quad bike towards Maori Bay.


"[Then] I heard the police car siren and the police car turned up and parked right next to us and the police man got out and ran down towards Maori Bay.

"I was standing beside the police car and heard them say about getting a weapon into the inflatable and shooting the shark. I thought it must be a shark sighting," Mr Bradbury said.

"People started coming back around the corner from Maori Bay, one woman was very upset because she saw it happen, she said a shark had killed someone."

Within minutes the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and police Eagle helicopter were at the scene, and surf life savers had cleared the beach.

The police officer collected his rifle from his car and loaded it nearby, before heading off in the inflatable rescue boat, Mr Bradbury said.

Mr Bradbury said no more than three minutes had passed from when the police officer arrived till when he was in the IRB shooting at the shark to release Mr Strange's body.

"They were pretty quick, I have to say, pretty fast to react. They did a great job, really," he said.

"From the time that car arrived, he had that gun out of his car, he ran down onto the beach, then he ran back to his colleague to put a life jacket on, and ran down to the inflatable - there wasn't much time at all. A couple of minutes."


Mr Bradbury collected his phone from his car and recorded the moment the officer shot at the shark.

"You could see it clearly, even though it was a fair way offshore. The water spraying up when he fired the gun - rapid fire and then you could hear the sound."

He said the officer shot at the shark in three rapid bursts.

"I've never heard anything like that before," he said.

Mr Bradbury said the actions of the officer and the surf life savers who went out were "brave".

"It can't be easy, sitting on an inflatable, it was a little bit choppy and windy ... sitting in there, firing something like that rifle with guys in the inflatable and if someone tumbled out, I didn't know if there were more than one shark there if there was.

"The police, surf life savers - fantastic. The helicopters were fast."

Mr Bradbury did not think what he witnessed would put him off swimming at the beach in the future.

"You don't think of sharks ... it's a tragic occurrence that has happened," he said. "It wouldn't stop me getting in the water, but I'd pick my spot."

- nzherald.co.nz