News Queensland Whitsundays’ Cid Harbour has second shark attack in 24 hours

Whitsundays’ Cid Harbour has second shark attack in 24 hours

shark attack victim helicopter
The 12-year-old shark attack victim is in a serious condition while the other previously wounded Justine Barwick is stable. Photo: ABC
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There’s been another shark attack on the Whitsundays at Cid Harbour – the second shark attack in the area in 24 hours.

It is believed that a 12-year-old girl has been bitten on the upper leg and is in a serious condition, just hours after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick was flown to Mackay Base Hospital after a shark attack in the same area left her with horrific injuries.

RACQ CQ Rescue tweeted that its rescue helicopter arrived at Mackay Base Hospital with the girl at 3.40pm on Thursday.

The girl, who was holidaying with her father and sister, was flown to the Mackay Base Hospital in a critical condition and will have surgery.


Queensland Ambulance Service operations manager Tracey Eastwick said the girl had lost a significant amount of blood after she was mauled on the thigh.

“It is horrific … for us as a community of paramedics it is quite confronting to have two similar incidents in the space of less than 24 hours,” she told reporters in Mackay.

“In north Queensland, shark attacks are not that common.”

The last attack in the area was eight years ago.

The Queensland government will set three drum lines in the Cid Harbour area tomorrow, in a bid to prevent any further attacks.

Fisheries officers and water police are also patrolling the area, while swimmers are being told to stay out of the water at the popular holiday hotspot.

Ms Barwick, 46, from Burnie in northern Tasmania, is in a critical condition in hospital after being bitten on her right leg by a shark while swimming near a docked yacht in the Whitsunday islands off Queensland’s central coast.

Tourist Mark Yates was on a nearby boat in Cid Harbour, about 50 kilometres off the Whitsunday coast, when the rescue happened.

“Two fellows dragged her straight up over the transom off the back of the boat and they must have laid her down in the cockpit so I couldn’t see anything happening at all,” he said.

Justine Barwick, who was attacked by a shark while swimming off the Whitsundays. Photo: ABC

“There was just frantic people moving around. It would have been a risky operation.”

Mr Yates said boaties he had spoken to since the attack told him the area is known for sharks.

“This morning a fellow on a boat next door to me he came over and he told me he caught two tiger sharks in the last week and one of them bit his dinghy,” he said.

While he had previously gone swimming in Cid Harbour, Mr Yates said he won’t be again.

“I’m not game now. Beautiful as it is and the water’s nice but I’m just content to cool down in the breeze, I think,” Mr Yates said.

The yacht Ms Barwick was pulled onto had emergency department doctor John Hadok on board. He provided the initial emergency aid.

RACQ’s CQ Rescue crewman Ben McCauley said Ms Barwick was losing large amounts of blood when she was pulled from the scene of the attack.

“The shark had taken a huge chunk out of her inside leg and she was bleeding out,” Mr McCauley told the ABC.

“The people on scene who got her aboard that yacht and quickly packed the gaping wound to help stem the haemorrhaging undoubtedly saved her life.”

RACQ CQ Rescue pilot Kevin Berry said “fortuitous” circumstances might have saved Ms Barwick’s life.

“[It was] very fortuitous that time, people and resources where there when we needed them,” he said.

Mr McCauley said she was “incredibly lucky” to have survived the shark attack, Mr McCauley said.

“Given how serious her injuries were and how far from shore and from medical help they were, without the rescue helicopter I don’t think she would have made it back to the mainland alive,” he said.

As Ms Barwick was being flown to hospital, the chopper had to make a quick landing at Proserpine airfield to refuel. 

There have been two fatal shark attacks in Australia so far this year, according to data collated by Taronga Conservation Society Australia with 23 people suffering injuries from shark bites.

In 2017, 17-year-old Laeticia Maree Brouwer, from Perth, was killed by a great white shark while surfing on a Western Australia beach with her father. She was the only Australian that year to have died from a shark attack, with another 11 suffering injuries.

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