FOR the first time ever, baited drumlines have been deployed in the Whitsundays after two tourists were mauled by sharks within 24 hours at the holiday hotspot.
A 12-year-old girl, believed to be from New Zealand, was bitten on the leg while swimming with her father and sister at Cid Harbour yesterday afternoon.
Thursday’s attack came less than 24 hours after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her thigh while snorkelling in the exact same spot.
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The child suffered significant injuries and was airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital in a critical condition after losing a significant amount of blood.
She has since been flown to Brisbane where she’ll be treated by experienced vascular surgeons.
Ms Barwick was also transferred to Brisbane where she remains today in a stable condition in the intensive care unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
Queensland’s Shark Control Program Manager Jeff Krause said the attacks were “unprecedented”.
Fisheries Queensland successfully set three baited drum lines at Sawmill Bay in Cid Harbour this morning in a bid to catch the shark or sharks responsible.
“To have two shark attacks in the same place within 24 hours is unprecedented,” Mr Krause said.
“At this stage, there is no evidence to indicate what the species of shark involved was.
“The drumlines are likely to remain in place for at least the next week with the situation to be reviewed regularly.
“A Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol boat has also been on site again today advising people to avoid swimming in the area.”
Mr Krause said with school holidays now underway, it was important for people to be aware of safe swimming practices.
“Apart from Queensland’s coastline, sharks are found in a variety of habitats including estuaries, rivers, creeks, canals and streams – both saltwater and freshwater,” Mr Krause said.
“To reduce the risk of a shark attack in Queensland waters, people should be discerning when choosing where and when they swim.’
Swimmers are urged to follow the following safety guidelines:
- Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches and between the flags;
- Obey lifesavers’ and lifeguards’ advice, and heed all sign and safety warnings;
- Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted;
- Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night or before dawn when sharks are most active;
- Do not swim or surf in murky waters;
- Do not swim in or near mouths of estuaries, artificial canals and lakes;
- Never swim alone;
- Never swim when bleeding;
- Do not swim near schools of fish or where fish are being cleaned;
- Do not swim near or interfere with shark control equipment; and
- Do not swim with animals.”