A 33-year-old man has died after being attacked by a shark in Queensland’s Whitsundays at about 5:30pm on Monday.
The attack happened at Cid Harbour and the man was airlifted with critical wrist and leg injuries to Mackay Base Hospital, where he was rushed to surgery upon arrival.
“He’d suffered very serious bites, significant blood loss as well as cardiac arrest,” Central Queensland rescue crewman Ben McCauley said.
“When we arrived he was already being treated by a paramedic from Hamilton Island, two off-duty doctors and an emergency department nurse from other nearby vessels.”
Police said the 33-year-old Victorian man was paddleboarding and swimming with friends at Cid Harbour when he was mauled.
People in another boat nearby dragged him out of the water, but he had suffered horrific injuries to his leg and wrist.
The rescue helicopter service said the man had been “viciously mauled”.
Cid Harbour, on Queensland’s Whitsunday Island, is a popular spot for charter boats and private yachts. (Facebook: RACQ CQ Rescue)
Two tourists — a 46-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl — were attacked in separate incidents in the same area in September.
Paramedics described this third attack as “the worst one yet”.
In response to the attacks in September, Queensland Fisheries deployed drumline shark baits in Cid Harbour, and six potentially dangerous sharks were culled.
They included five tiger sharks, one of which was 3.7 metres long.
At the time, Fisheries was unable to say whether that shark had been responsible for either of the September attacks.
Beachgoers need ‘fair protection’
The Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said it was madness that none of the beaches in the Whitsundays were protected by drumlines.
“The minister responsible should be fixing it in the public interest, particularly after this fatality,” he said.
“We need to make sure we give our beachgoers fair protection. There are no guarantees here, none at all.”
He said tourists needed to be better educated about the dangers of swimming at dawn or dusk
“I think government needs to be working with industry in educating people who run a yacht or rent a boat and go out for a trip of a lifetime, an experience of a lifetime, in the place that I call paradise,” he said.
“Government and industry need to be working together but there is no substitute for exercising commonsense.”