Woman, 19, killed in shark attack after tide pulls her away from friends

A 19-year-old woman who died in a brutal shark attack has been pictured, as her heartbroken family pay tribute.

Kaelah Marlow, 19, from Hamilton in New Zealand, got into trouble while swimming with a group of friends at Waihi Beach on Thursday night, January 7.

She was pulled out by a riptide at the popular tourist beach before the shark – supposedly a great white – targeted her.

Kaelah suffered bite wounds to at least one of her legs.

Lifeguards spent 20 minutes performing CPR but she was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.

Eyewitness Amanda Gould told Stuff NZ: “She got separated from all her friends and was pulled really far out, beyond where the surfers would sit.”

She added: “You could tell she was struggling because there is no way she would go that far out.

“No one saw her waving out, but I did hear a scream.”

The rescue boat took around five minutes to reach her due to the choppy conditions, Ms Gould said.

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After Kaelah was taken to shore, she could still see the shark’s fin going around in the water.

Ms Gould continued: “It was shocking, surreal, and we were all a bit freaked out…it keeps playing on my mind.

“I’m really sad for the girl and I feel for the family. It’s so shocking that someone’s life can be taken away just by that one event, one minute she’s swimming and the next she’s pulled out and then that happened. It’s quite dreadful.”

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Kaelah grew up in Perth, Australia, before her family moved to New Zealand.

Her aunt Kylie French told The West Australian: “We can’t get over there, mum can’t get over there.

“You hear about shark attacks but never in a million years do you think it’ll be someone you know.

“She was a lovely girl, a fun girl, always bubbly, into anything.”

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