‘Catastrophic’ shark attack leaves man, 59, fighting for his life in hospital

A man has been attacked by a shark in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and is fighting for his life.

The 59-year-old suffered “catastrophic” bleeding when the enormous creature tore into his thigh at midday on Sunday, badly wounding him.

He had been out spearfishing with a friend on Britomart reef north of Brisbane when the shark attacked, according to local reports.

Paramedics rushed to the scene at 12.20pm after a distress beacon was deployed from the friends’ boat and a rescue helicopter also attended.

The unnamed man was rushed back to shore and airlifted to Townsville Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

The man being rushed to hospital
The man being rushed to hospital

Authorities described his condition as critical with “catastrophic” bleeding.

Andrew Cary, of Queensland Police, told 9 News: “He was on a vessel with a friend spearfishing at the time when the attack happened.”

Paramedic David Humphreys said: “The obvious concern was catastrophic bleeding which we did our best to arrest, get control of.

“But knowing the definitive care is surgery for this patient, we also wanted to stabilise him as far as we could.”

'Catastrophic' shark attack leaves man, 59, fighting for his life in hospital
The man was out spearfishing with a friend when the shark bit into his leg

This has been Australia’s deadliest year for shark attacks since 2014, with seven deaths recorded in 2020 to date.

Earlier this month a search for Andrew Sharpe, 53, was called off after he was seen being attacked by a shark while surfing with friends at Kelp Beds in Western Australia.

Only his surfboard with bite marks on it and pieces of his wetsuit have washed up on the shore since then.

Last year saw three shark attacks in the Whitsundays.

Following previous shark attacks, Australia’s tourism industry called for more measures to be implemented such as aircrafts or drones to watch over swimmers and alert them of sharks in the water.

Other suggestions included swimming nets in island areas and a SMART drumlines trial.