News Queensland Hamilton Island ‘shark attack’ turns out to be a toadfish

Hamilton Island ‘shark attack’ turns out to be a toadfish

An ugly creature with the teth to deliver a vicious bite, that's the Queensland toadfish. Photo: wetwebmedia
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A girl remains in hospital in a stable condition after being attacked in the Whitsunday Islands by what was at first thought to be a shark.

An elderly woman was also bitten while the pair were wading in shallow waters at Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island about 9.30am on Thursday.

Authorities now believe it was an irate toadfish which drew blood in the shallow waters off Hamilton island.

“Independent testing has suggested a fish was responsible in this instance, not a shark,” a spokesman for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told AAP.

The nine-year-old girl was transferred by boat to Proserpine Hospital for treatment for a bite to her foot.

Rows of needle-sharp make the toadfish a formidable predator. Photo: Flickr

The woman remained on the island and was treated at a local medical centre for a wound on her right leg.

Neither injuries are life-threatening, with Hamilton Island operators saying the suspected toadfish was believed to be less than a metre long.

The beach has been closed pending further safety checks.

It comes after Victorian man Daniel Christidis, 33, died in November after being bitten by a shark at Cid Harbour during a trip with friends and colleagues.

That incident followed separate attacks on Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Victorian 12-year-old Hannah Papps within 24 hours in September.

Mr Christidis’ death sparked calls for greater shark control measures in the Whitsundays, with the state government responding with more funding for research into the increase in shark activity in the area, as well as an ongoing “sharkwise” program.