A man who was bitten by a shark while diving on the Great Barrier Reef is now in a stable condition in hospital, after waiting more than eight hours for a medical team and helicopter to reach him near a remote island in the Torres Strait.
The 55-year-old boat skipper was diving about 60 nautical miles east of Murray Island when he was mauled.
The man suffered lacerations to the right hand, left bicep, chest and stomach.
Emergency services said other crew members helped him back on board the large fishing boat around 12:40pm, where a trained medic performed first aid to slow the bleeding.
Paramedic Kirk Billington said it took about five hours to get the man back to a small medical clinic on Murray Island.
“There’s no doctor there and he is being treated by a nurse who has only been on the island for two weeks. His condition is listed as stable,” Mr Billington said.
“He was diving and was mauled by a shark so they weren’t able to give us any further information. He is on quite a big vessel, he is the captain of the ship.”
He then had to wait a further three hours for a rescue helicopter to arrive from Horn Island, after an early attempt was called off due to bad weather in the region.
The chopper eventually arrived at Murray Island just after 9:00pm to take the patient to Thursday Island Hospital, which took another three hours.
The patient went in for surgery just after midnight.
Murray Island is a remote island at the northern-most point of the Great Barrier Reef, where sharks are commonly sighted by locals.