Shark attack victim arrives at Mackay Base Hospital

Tooth punctures on hip, buttocks after shark attack

UPDATE 6.50PM: MULTIPLE tooth-like marks on the buttocks and hip of a 25-year-old man paint a painful picture of what unfolded beneath the surface at Hardy Reef.

The Airlie Beach man was airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital after being attacked by what he believed to be a bronze whaler shark while swimming near the popular Whitsunday diving spot about 12.30pm yesterday.

QAS senior operations supervisor Shane Tucker said the man was swimming just off the reef when the shark bit him on his left hip and right buttocks.

Mr Tucker said the man managed to swim back to the boat he had been on, before being rushed to Heart Pontoon.

"The injuries sustained were multiple penetrating tooth-like marks to those areas," Mr Tucker said.

"He was rendered first aid by the crew on the boat. Bandaging and pressure control was applied to the wound. The wound was covered on arrival of the paramedics and RACQ CQ Rescue."

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter hovered just above a dive pontoon to enable a critical care paramedic and rescue crewman to exit the aircraft. The two crew were then ferried over to a 42-metre super yacht where the patient was.

The man, believed to be a boat skipper, was transferred back to the dive pontoon by tender.

He was winched up in the rescue helicopter with the paramedic, followed then by the rescue crewman.

Mr Tucker said the man's injuries were not life threatening and he was transported to Mackay Base Hospital conscious, and in a stable condition.

The attack, which is the fifth in the Whitsundays in little more than six months, has been described as a 'huge blow' to the tourism industry.

Col McKenzie, of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, said industry operators were "shattered".

"Right now the whole industry is having a "oh sh*t" moment," Mr McKenzie said.

"What can we do?"
 

UPDATE 2.40PM: A MAN attacked by a shark in the Whitsundays is expected to arrive at Mackay Base Hospital via helicopter by 3pm. 

The man, understood to be in his 20s, has been winched from Line Reef and will be treated in Mackay for his injuries. 

He is in a stable condition. 

UPDATE 2PM: A SHARK attack victim was believed to be spearfishing off a private boat when he was bitten on the leg at Line Reef in the Whitsundays.

The man, who is understood to have suffered a deep bite to the thigh, was taken to the Heart Pontoon at Hardy Reef. Authorities said he was conscious at the time they were notified.

The RACQ CQ rescue chopper was sent to the scene and by 2pm had lowered a critical care paramedic and rescue crewman to the pontoon to stabilise the patient. They planned to winch him to the chopper before flying him to Mackay Base Hospital - a 30-minute flight.

Emergency services said the incident happened about 12.30pm near Hardy Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, off Airlie Beach.

READ MORE: People before sharks: Attacks a 'public health issue'

"He was on a private boat,'' Col McKenzie, of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, said.

"We are assuming he was spearfishing, but usually the only reason people get bitten on the Reef is if they've been fish feeding or spearfishing, we'll know more soon.''

He said it was a huge blow to the Whitsundays, which was still reeling after three shark attacks - one fatal - last year.

"Right now the whole industry is having a "oh sh*t" moment,'' Mr McKenzie said.

"We're all just shattered.

"What can we do?"

Many of the reef's leading tourism operators are on Green Island, off Cairns, today for the AMPTO annual general meeting.

Cruise Whitsundays, which operates the Hardy Reef pontoon, said the incident occurred at Line Reef, north of the main tourist snorkelling site.

"The man in question was not a guest or crew member of Cruise Whitsundays,'' a spokeswoman said.

This incident is the fifth shark attack in the Whitsundays in little more than six months.

EARLIER: A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson told the Whitsunday Times that a man was reportedly bitten by a shark near Hardy Reef, about 12.30pm on Monday.

He is understood to have suffered a leg injury and is reportedly conscious.

Paramedics are en-route and the RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter has been tasked to the scene.

Hardy Reef is one of the many thousands of small reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef and is approximately 60km north-east of Airlie Beach.

This latest incident follows a horror stretch of attacks in the popular Australian holiday destination.

In September last year, Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps, 12, were attacked at Cid Harbour in the space of 24 hours.

Ms Barwick said last month that she is still recovering from extensive physical injuries and has been learning to walk again with the assistance of a cane, while Hannah's leg was amputated. 

In November, six weeks after the first two attacks, Melbourne doctor Dan Christidis died as a result of his injuries after being attacked in Cid Harbour.

In January of this year, a nine-year-old girl suffered a foot injury after a bite at Hamilton Island.

Doubt remains whether a shark or a toad fish was at the centre of that incident.

 

INITIAL: A MAN has reportedly been bitten by a shark in the Whitsundays this afternoon.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson told the Whitsunday Times the incident took place near Hardy Reef about 12.30pm.

The man is understood to have suffered a leg injury and reportedly conscious.

Paramedics are en-route and the RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter is heading to the scene.

MORE TO COME


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