‘Shark attacked, circled and came back for more’
AN ENGLISH tourist has had his foot bitten off in a horror shark attack that has left a second man with serious lacerations to his lower leg.
The two men are in a serious condition in hospital following the attack near Hook Island off the Whitsunday coast.
It is understood the two men were wrestling and thrashing about in the water when they were attacked by the shark.
Queensland Ambulance Service Mackay manager of operations Tracey Eastwick said one of the men was attacked first "and the shark has believed to … come back and attacked the second patient" shortly afterwards.
A 22-year-old man suffered injuries to his right calf, while a 28-year-old man has "received an amputation to his right foot" - this is believed to be his only injury.
It is also unknown who of the two men was attacked first.
"The patients were loaded onto the vessel they were out on, on the day cruise," Ms Eastwick said, adding it was understood there were two international paramedics on the boat who immediately started first aid.
"They've applied tourniquets to both patients and continued treatment into Coral Sea Marina."
The cruise vessel transported the men to Coral Sea Marina, about a 20-minute trip, where they were met by QAS crews.
Ms Eastwick said paramedics continued to stabilise the patients, who were moved to the Whitsunday PCYC to be met by the RACQ CQ Rescue chopper with a doctor and critical care paramedic on-board.
The helicopter had to be reconfigured for a dual stretcher transfer and was on the ground in Airlie Beach for about 40 minutes while the patients were transported to the oval from the marina and prepared for the flight.
Both were conscious and had been given pain relief by paramedics on scene.
It is unknown if the two men were travelling together or how long they had been in the water before the attack occurred.
Ms Eastwick said there were believed to be about 20 people on board the day cruise vessel, but it is unknown how many others were in the water when the attack occurred.
Hook Passage is about 11km from Cid Harbour, where three people were attack within two months about this time last year.
EARLIER: Emergency services were called to two male patients after they were bitten by a shark at 10.22am today and they were subsequently flown to Mackay Base Hospital.
An English tourist has had his foot bitten off and another has serious lacerations to his lower leg after a shark attack in the Whitsundays today. Both were transported to Mackay Base Hospital by #RACQ #CQRescue in a serious but stable condition.— RACQ CQ Rescue (@cq_rescue) October 29, 2019
It is reported the incident occurred in Hook Passage, between Hook Island and Whitsunday Island - about 11km from Cid Harbour, where Melbourne man Daniel Christidis died following an attack on November 5, 2018 and two others injured including a 12-year-old girl late last year.
Whitsunday Police Senior Sergeant Nathan Blain confirmed the two men, aged in their 20s were passengers on a day tour.
"They suffered serious injuries to their lower limbs which will require hospital treatment," he said.
The two men, both aged in their 20s, who were on a ZigZag Whitsundays day tour, are in a serious condition. They were transported by boat to Coral Sea Marina before being flown to Mackay.
The tour company whose two guests were attacked by sharks has released a statement.
Snorkelling day trip outfit ZigZag Whitsundays said it had suspended tours for the rest of the day.
"We are saddened to confirm that two of our guests were injured in a shark attack this morning," the statement on Facebook said.
"Our thoughts are with them, their families and the other guests on the tour.
"We are working with authorities to assist in any way we can. We have suspended our tours for today and will work closely with authorities regarding our upcoming tours.
"We would also like to thank the VMR and RACQ CQ chopper for their immediate response in assisting our injured guests so quickly."
Tourism Whitsunday CEO Tash Wheeler said her main priority was to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those involved in the incident.
In September, all shark control equipment were removed from 27 beaches in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, after which lifesavers blamed a surge of shark sightings and beach closures in north Queensland.
The men are believed to have been at the northern end of Hook Passage, between Hook Island and Whitsunday Island, which is not part of the shark control program.
Since baited drum lines were introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.
Prior to that there were 36 recorded cases of shark attack, and 19 deaths, dating back to 1912.
There have been a number of shark attacks in the Whitsundays in the past 18 months.
In September 2018, Hannah Papps, 18, and Justine Barwick, 46, survived near-fatal attacks while swimming off yachts moored in Cid Harbour.
The attacks occurred one day apart.
Both nearly bled to death from leg wounds.
On November 5 last year, Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis, 33, was killed after he was mauled while paddle boarding off a yacht at the same location.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would not comment on whether the attack had anything to do with the recent drum line ruling.
She said she was seeking more information about the attack.
"I do not know exactly where it happened so I am getting that information," she said.
"I'm not going to talk about the politics of drum lines today. My main concern today is for the welfare of these two people that have been injured by what appears to have been a shark attack."
But Ms Palaszczuk renewed calls for Federal laws changes to allow the drumlines to put be back in.