Strange, 46, was attacked by what was reported to be a great white shark about 200 yards offshore of Auckland, New Zealand's Muriwai Beach at around 1:30 p.m. local time. Local reports say that as blood spread from the initial attack, at least three other sharks were seen drawn to the attack.
Authorities got into a small boat and tried to rescue Strange. They were joined by a helicopter. Police say they fired up to 20 shots at the sharks, but it was too late.
One shark was apparently killed in the gunfire. Its body, measuring about 14 feet in length, washed up on shore a short time later.
Pio Mose was fishing off rocks beside the beach. He described how he saw a "huge" shark attack Strange, who was swimming alone about 50 yards from where he was standing.
All of a sudden we saw the shark fin and next minute, boom, attack him and then blood everywhere on the water.
He added that Strange appeared to struggle with the shark before it swam away. However, then it, along with others, returned. Mose called the authorities on his cell phone while a friend ran to get help.
At this point, Strange was still alive. Mose said:
He was still alive. He put his head up. We called him to swim over the rock to where we were. He raised his hand up and then while he was rising his hand up we saw another attack and pull him in the water. He came back up. His head was on the water ... then we notice (sic) he was already dead.
Strange directed commercials, but also short films. His film "Aphrodite’s Farm" won the Crystal Bear Award for Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009. He leaves behind a wife, Meg, and a young child.
His biography can be found on his site.
The embedded video reportedly shows the shark that initially attacked Strange, but does not show the attack. It features an interview with Mose.