UPDATE at 5:20 PM | THE Queensland Government has announced it will begin baiting sharks in the Whitsundays following two near-fatal attacks in the tourist spot in the last 24 hours.
In a statement, Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said three drum lines with baited hooks will be set around Cid Harbour on Friday morning in a bid to reduce the possibility of any further attacks.
“Nothing is more important than the protection of human life – I want these drum lines in place as soon as possible,” Mr Furner said.
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The swift response comes after a 12-year-old girl became the second person to be attacked by a shark in the area within 24 hours on Thursday afternoon.
It’s understood the child was swimming with her father and sister when she was mauled on the legs.
The 12-year-old suffered significant blood loss and was airlifted to Mackay Hospital where she remains tonight in a critical condition, undergoing emergency surgery.
A 46-year-old woman from Tasmania was mauled in the exact same spot less than 24 hours earlier.
She too was airlifted to Mackay Hospital in a critical condition but has since been transferred to a hospital in Brisbane for specialist treatment.
Her injuries are described as “life changing”.
Mr Furner is urging swimmers to stay out of the water in the vicinity of Cid Harbour and Sawmill Bay.
“Shark attacks in these waters are rare,” he said. “That’s why these events are so shocking.”
The last time someone was attacked by a shark in the Whitsundays was eight years ago – in 2010.
Fisheries officers and water police are patrolling the area, warning tourists to refrain from swimming.
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FIRST at 3:30 PM | A CHILD has been airlifted to hospital after being bitten by a shark at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.
The girl, believed to be 12-years-old, was bitten while swimming with her father on Thursday afternoon. A rescue helicopter was dispatched to the area about 1.45pm.
Queensland Ambulance confirmed the child sustained a “significant leg injury” and has since been airlifted to Mackay Hospital in a critical but stable condition.
It’s the second shark attack in the area in less than 24 hours.
Tasmanian tourist Justine Barwick, 46, remains in a serious condition in hospital after she too was mauled on the leg by a shark in the very same spot on Wednesday.
No further information was available at the time of writing.