Cid Harbour rescuer struggling to deal with death of shark attack victim Daniel Christidis
Central Queensland Helicopter Rescue’s Ben McCauley attended the scene of all three recent shark attacks at Cid Harbour. (ABC News: Michael Atkin)
A member of the helicopter rescue crew that tried to save shark attack victim Daniel Christidis says he has been deeply affected by the man’s death.
Dr Christidis, 33, a medical researcher from Melbourne, died on Monday night after being attacked while paddleboarding and swimming at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.
Central Queensland Helicopter Rescue crewman Ben McCauley, 31, attended the scene of all three attacks.
The first two victims survived.
Medical researcher Daniel Christidis died after being attacked by a shark at Cid Harbour. (Twitter)
“It’s tough,” Mr McCauley told 7.30.
“If you came in to work the next day and you pretended like it didn’t affect you, you’re just lying to yourself. One hundred per cent it affected me.
“It’s just something that will sit in the back of your mind.
“You went there, you did your best, it wasn’t enough.”
Mr McCauley has only worked with CQ Helicopter Rescue since January.
He has had counselling since Monday’s incident.
Friends on boat were medical professionals
Mr McCauley said he and the rescue crew landed on the beach at Cid Harbour and travelled by boat to the yacht where Dr Christidis was being treated.
He said CPR was being administered and the wounds had already been bandaged.
“He was on a yacht with a group of 10 friends. We believe they’re all in the medical profession,” he said.
“It’s unlucky getting bitten by a shark, but you’re very lucky to have been bitten by a shark and have doctors and nurses on the next boat, or your friends all around you who are all medical professionals.
“You couldn’t ask for any better care than that. Even though the hospital is on its way, you’re getting A1 care straight up.”
The rescue crew transported Dr Christidis back to the beach and into the helicopter, where he was transported to Mackay Base Hospital.
“We knew he wasn’t in a great way,” Mr McCauley said.
“He would have known he is not in a great way, but he knew he was in good hands.
“He wanted the help, you could see he wanted the help.
“All you can do is just reassure him.
“I was just stroking his forehead and all you can do is do what you’re trained to do, and just try to let them know everything is going to be fine.”
‘Just the way it is’
One of the sharks culled at Cid Harbour after the two September attacks. (Instagram: sailingpopeye)
Mr McCauley said he did not want to enter the debate about whether drum lines should be reinstalled at Cid Harbour.
“You’re in the ocean, there’s sharks in the ocean. That’s just the way it is,” he said.
“You might jump in and see a shark, you might not.
“You’re still unlucky at the end of the day, it’s just one of those things.
“You’re never going to stop a natural predator in its own area. It’s their water.”