Off the coast of Whitsunday, Queensland two British men in their twenties were mauled by a shark during a snorkelling tour. Danny Maggs, 22, and Alistair Raddon, 28, were splashing around in the water when the shark attacked. Both men received leg injuries while one of them lost his foot.
ZigZag Whitsunday tour company had taken Maggs and Raddon along with other tourists to the popular diving spot. The group set off from Airlie beach close to the Hook Passage. Maggs and Raddon were snorkelling when the shark reportedly attacked Raddon first. After biting Raddon, the shark bit Maggs.
A tourist boat heard and saw the two men struggling in the water. The crew and passengers of the boat picked Maggs and Raddon up from the water. Fortunately, two German tourists aboard the boat were paramedics and performed emergency first air. The boat alerted emergency services as it raced to the shore.
Upon reaching the shore, paramedics took the two in an ambulance to a waiting Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Limited (RACQ) helicopter. The helicopter airlifted the victims to Mackay Base Hospital in stable yet serious condition. Doctors at the hospital confirmed that Maggs received lacerations to his calf while Raddon lost his right foot.
The paramedics and RACQ rescuers informed Australian media that the two victims were in "good spirits" even though they were in a lot of pain. One of the victims even told paramedics that he thought his friend had grabbed his leg until he turned around and saw blood in the water.
Shark attacks are frequent in the area as sharks from the Great Barrier Reef national park tend to wander close to the popular dive site. Earlier, Queensland government had placed drumlines and baited hooks in certain areas to create a barrier. However, these barriers ended up killing sharks instead of repelling them. At the same time, the drumlines and hooks did not provide a fool-proof solution to shark attacks.
The Sun pointed out that Humane Society International Australia won a court case to get the drumlines removed from the area. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk does not support the court's decision to remove the drumlines. Palaszczuk believes that the removal of the barriers puts locals and tourists at risk. Any of 88 species of sharks that reside in the water could have attacked the divers.