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Shark attack in the Whitsundays leaves two people with serious injuries

Two British backpackers have been airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a shark at Airlie Beach 

The attack took place this morning at a reef near Hook Passage, between Hook Island and Whitsunday Island, where the victims were swimming.

The pair were part of a ZigZag Whitsundays tour group and were rushed back to Abell Point Marina by boat.


“Fortunately… there was two paramedics on board the vessel who rendered first aid. Certainly a big aid to their injuries and condition at the time,” says Tracey Eastwick, Manager of Operations for Queensland Ambulance Service Mackay.

The patients are now in a serious but stable condition, with lower limb injuries. The 28-year-old man has had his right foot amputated, and the 22-year-old man has been mauled on the right calf.

The area has seen several shark attacks in recent years, including the death of a Melbourne man – Daniel Christidis – in November 2018.

Drum lines were removed from 27 beaches along the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park last month, though Airlie Beach is not one of them.

This attack will likely reignite the ongoing debate over shark control measures in Queensland’s most popular tourist destinations.

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Image: Getty/Ramn Carretero