Two British tourists were left seriously injured after “wrestling” in the Great Barrier Reef resulted in a shark attack on Tuesday.
One man had his foot torn off, while the other had his leg badly injured, according to statements released by RACQ CQ, the helicopter rescue team that responded.
The victims — identified as Alistair Raddon, 28, and 22-year-old Danny Maggs — were driven 11 km by boat to Airlie Beach, where paramedics were waiting. They were then flown by helicopter to a local hospital in Mackay.
According to the rescue organization, the two told the medical crew in the helicopter that “they were wrestling and thrashing about in the water in Hook Passage when the attack occurred.”
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A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman told the BBC: “One of the male patients was attacked first and the shark is believed to have returned and come back and attacked the second patient.”
A photo from an Instagram user by the name of Danny Maggs shows Maggs giving the camera a thumbs up while being treated for his wounds. The photo, widely circulated in media reports, has since been deleted.
They were swimming off the Whitsunday Islands, per their tour organizer Zigzag Whitsundays.
The rescue team shared a photo of the helicopter pilot, along with the caption: “Arriving at Mackay Base Hospital at 12.40pm with two patients on board after a Shark attack in the Whitsundays.
The team reported that the tourists arrived at the hospital in a serious but stable condition.
According a Mackay Base Hospital statement that the Independent cites, the 28-year-old man ended up losing his foot.
Maggs’ close friend, Jamie Dart, told the BBC that he’d been in touch with his friend.
“He’s in high spirits. A bit shaken up but doing well, considering,” Dart said. “He’s a great guy with a zest for life.”
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In November last year, a man was killed after a shark attacked him in the area of Whitsunday Island harbour, the BBC reports. Two others were mauled in the same area earlier that month, the publication states.
Reports at the time said the man killed was diving from a paddleboard during a yacht cruise.
Two months earlier, two Australians were mauled by sharks, resulting in a 12-year-old losing her leg.