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Shock at third shark attack in popular Qld tourist spot

November 7, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Shocked tourism operators in Queensland’s Whitsunday Region are bracing for impact after a shark killed a man in the same area where two tourists were badly mauled on consecutive days in September.

News of the death of the 33-year-old Victorian man, who was rushed to hospital and died a short time later, was carried around the world. News outlets used headlines such as: ‘3rd shark attack off Australian tourist island in 7 weeks’. (Times Colonist, Canada); ‘Queensland fatal shark attack: Third incident in tourist spot’ (BBC); Man dies in 3rd shark attack off Australia’s Whitsundays Islands (Al Jazeera) and Queensland shark attack Australia: Man dies after third attack in tourist hotspot over past two months (London Evening Standard).

The dead man was one of a group of 10 friends who had hired a self-piloted, 40-foot yacht from Cumberland Charter Yachts and were on the first day of their sailing holiday. Cumberland Charter Yachts general manager Sharon McNally told the ABC of the company’s shock and sadness at the news.

In September, after two swimmers were seriously injured in shark attacks on consecutive days in the same area, tourists were warned to keep out of the water in the Whitsunday Islands. A 12-year-old girl, the first to be attacked in September, later had a leg amputated. A 46-year-old woman was badly mauled a day later.

The latest attack, the worst of the three, happened about 5.30pm on Monday at Cid Harbour, a large and popular sheltered anchorage on the western side of Whitsunday Island. It’s a popular spot for charter boats and private yachts.

Police said most of the holiday group had a “medical background” including two doctors who were aboard the chartered yacht, ABC News reported.

Whitsunday Island

The man and a woman in the party were taking turns using a stand-up paddleboard when the shark attacked.

Inspector Steve O’Connell told the ABC that the man’s friends and rescue crews tried their utmost to save him.

“Every solid effort was made to save his life… They did everything imaginable.”

Water police and boats from Queensland government agencies were patrolling Cid Harbour yesterday in an effort to reassure tourists and sailors.

Inspector O’Connell said authorities were working to warn people to steer clear of the water.

“The general message given by water police out there and by the government departments will be don’t swim in Shute or Cid harbour at all,” he said.

The message is: Don’t swim at dawn or dusk, don’t swim in murky water and don’t swim in Cid Harbour at any time.

Written by Peter Needham

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