Shark attack: Widow tells of anguish
THE widow of shark attack victim Adam Strange has spoken about the "sinking feeling" she had moments before she heard the devastating news of her husband's death.
Mr Strange, 46, was killed when he was attacked by at least one shark at Muriwai Beach on Wednesday.
He is survived by his wife, Meg, and their 2-year-old daughter, Indigo.
Mrs Strange was not ready to speak openly about her husband's horrifying death, but in a statement to the Weekend Herald last night she revealed details of her dash to the beach after hearing helicopters circling the area.
"Adam drove himself to Maori Bay around 12.30pm for a very rare swim - rather than his daily surf or stand-up paddle - to test his goggles for his third Rangitoto harbour swim on Sunday," she said.
Mrs Strange stayed home with Indigo, who was sleeping. About an hour after her husband left the couple's Muriwai home, Mrs Strange heard helicopters.
She noticed that they had been in the area for some time.
After a "sinking feeling", she did a quick internet search and found out there had been a shark attack at the beach.
"She and Indigo drove straight to Maori Bay. They found Adam's truck but could not locate him," said the family statement.
Other friends arrived at the beach and went with Mrs Strange and Indigo to an area near the Muriwai Cafe, where police were.
"Meg went into the cafe and waited with a few local friends and police, mainly expecting that Adam would be on the beach helping to divert people and that he would arrive at any moment."
Soon after, they were taken to the surf club to be told that it was Mr Strange who had been pulled from the water. Mrs Strange waited for family and friends who lived nearby to come to the beach.
Her husband was formally identified by Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service chairman Tim Jago, who knew the couple.
It is understood Mrs Strange and other relatives then spent time with Mr Strange before his body was taken away.
"Adam's family and friends are still dealing with this incomprehensible and devastating tragedy. The displays of support, flowers and gifts are overwhelming, and they thank all those who have the family in their thoughts," the family said in a statement.
It is a fresh tragedy for the Strange family. Mr Strange's sister Erin died suddenly in Auckland in 2010.
Mr Strange's mother, Jeanette, came from Paraparaumu this week and his brother Tristan is due to arrive from Cambodia today for a funeral service at the Muriwai surf club on Monday. Local surfers, family and friends and those involved in the rescue are to form a guard of honour outside the club, holding surfboards, and a ceremony will take place in the water.
One of Mr Strange's short films will also be played during the service.
Muriwai Beach is to reopen this morning.
Surf lifesavers will receive a briefing from shark documentary maker Mike Bhana.
But lifeguard Joseph Mulgrew will not be with them as he takes time off after his efforts in trying to get the shark away from Mr Strange.
The 29-year-old was one of three lifeguards on duty at Muriwai and went out with a colleague in the first inflatable rescue boat.
As the other lifeguard powered the boat and tried to ram the shark, Mr Mulgrew hit it several times with a paddle. "We had to get him off, " he said later.
Mr Jago said: "It would have been perfectly acceptable for them to turn around and say, 'That thing's bigger than the boat; we're only in an inflatable boat.'
"There was no guarantee their efforts would work."
How to help
A trust has been set up to cover the cost of Adam Strange's funeral and to provide for his wife and daughter. Donations can be made to the James Bell Accounting Ltd Trust Account at the ANZ Bank, account number 06-0193- 0262946-03, (reference A Strange or Adam) or to the Muriwai lifeguard service through ASB Bank account number 12-3053- 0322971-00, (reference: A Strange).