13 Feb 2023

Swimmers evacuated from Christchurch beach after shark sighting

4:13 pm on 13 February 2023

By Poppy Clark and Tatiana Gibbs of Stuff

The public have been escorted out of a Christchurch beach after a shark sighting.

The public have been escorted out of a Christchurch beach after a shark sighting. Photo: Stuff / File Photo

Swimmers have been turned away from New Brighton beach in Christchurch after a shark was sighted.

Just after midday on Monday, local police and surf lifesavers evacuated swimmers from the water.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand southern regional manager Stu Bryce confirmed the incident and said a Surf Life Saving education programme was taking place at the time nearby.

"Our protocol is to get everyone out of the water for 30 minutes and then reassess the situation" Bryce said.

Bryce said local police helped surf lifesavers evacuate swimmers close by.

Christchurch resident Ursula Keay, 33, was turned away from the beach after a police officer stopped her and told her a shark had been sighted from the pier.

"I was worried to be honest. It's the first time I've heard of a shark in New Brighton," Keay said.

Keay is a regular swimmer at the beach who takes her two children "every few days". She said it was just one police officer at the beach talking to swimmers.

"He said there's been a shark sighting off the pier, so you shouldn't go in."

An employee at beach side cafe, Saturdays, said customers had come in and discussed a sand shark, which are not aggressive, believed to be swimming "quite close to the pier".

Only two weeks prior a shark was sighted "chilling" at Waimairi beach, just 6 km south of New Brighton Beach.

* This story first appeared on Stuff