TWO Brits have been mauled by a shark in Australia – leaving one with his foot ripped off.
The tourists were rescued after the terrifying attack off Queensland’s popular Whitsunday coast on Tuesday morning local time.
Danny Maggs, aged 22, suffered severe calf lacerations – while Alistair Raddon, 28, had his right foot bitten off, rescuers said.
An RACQ rescue helicopter rushed the pair of snorkelers to hospital in a serious condition.
A spokesperson said they had been “wrestling and thrashing about in the water” before the attack at about 10.20am (12.20am GMT).
The dual Whitsunday shark attacks occurred close to where numerous people have been bitten over the past year, including Dr Daniel Christidis, 33, who died last November during a yacht trip with pals.
The Brits had been swimming off Airlie beach near Hook Passage when at least one beast struck.
Queensland Ambulance Service’s spokeswoman Tracey Eastwick said a shark attacked Mr Raddon first, before returning to bite Mr Maggs’ leg, reports News.com.au.
PLUCKED FROM WATER
The two bloodied men were plucked from the water by horrified tourists on a pleasure boat and taken back to shore.
Paramedics rushed them in an ambulance to meet up with the waiting rescue chopper – which flew them to hospital in the city of Mackay in serious but stable conditions.
The helicopter rescue service said: “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.”
The victims told the helicopter crew “they were wrestling and thrashing about in the water” in a passage between Hayman and Whitsunday Islands when they were mauled.
Queensland Ambulance said earlier: “Both patients have sustained serious lower limb injuries and are in a serious condition.”
The Mackay Base Hospital said that the “28-year-old man lost his foot”.
ZigZag Whitsundays, which operated the tour the snorkelers were on, said in a Facebook statement: “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.”
There were 20 people on board the tour boat at the time, but it’s not clear how many tourists were swimming at the time of the attack.
Tourism Whitsundays and Whitsunday Regional Council said passengers and crew had spoken to counsellors.
The organisations told reporters that the welfare of the shark attack victims, along with passengers and boat crew “is our priority”.
DEBATE OVER SAFETY
It comes amid debate in Queensland about the recent removal of protective drum lines from the Great Barrier Reef marine park.
There have been at least four shark attacks in the Whitsundays since September last year – including upon a 12-year-old girl, Hannah Papps, who later had her leg amputated.
A Tasmanian mum-of-two, Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her left thigh while snorkelling in the same area.
A court ruled in favour of animal rights campaigners to get rid of the deadly barriers that keep sharks from the shore.
Culling sharks does not make swimmers safer.
Humane Society International Australia
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had not yet received details of the attack – but was concerned for the welfare of those injured.
She said: “I don’t know if they were diving, if it was offshore, I don’t know if it was outside the marine park.
“I will not shy away from my stance that the drum lines need to go back in.”
But the Humane Society International Australia said in a statement the attack was “completely unrelated” to the court ruling.
It said: “We are very sorry to hear of the recent shark incident in Airlie Beach and hope for a speedy recovery for the two men.
“Culling sharks does not make swimmers safer.
“Education, shark alerts and personal deterrents are far more effective at protecting swimmers and were part of the court ruling which Queensland is refusing to implement.”
Where are the Whitsundays?
- An archipelago of 74 tropical islands, the Whitsundays lie just off the Queensland coast, next to the Great Barrier Reef
- People travel here from all over the world to see the white sands of Whitehaven Beach and the stunning beauty of Heart Reef
- The Great Barrier Reef protects the islands from large swells, making them ideal for sailing, swimming, snorkelling and relaxing on secluded beaches and in hidden bays
- Whitehaven Beach is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach on earth
- The sand is 98 per cent silica, and so white that it can appear unreal
- It is on the uninhabited Whitsunday Island and is only accessible by seaplane, helicopter or boat
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