A man is fighting for his life in hospital after suffering ‘catastrophic’ injuries from a shark attack.
The 59-year-old is undergoing emergency surgery after the deadly shark ripped into his thigh in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
He had been spearfishing on a boat with a friend on Britomart reef, north of Brisbane, when disaster struck, according to local news reports.
Authorities described his condition as critical with catastrophic bleeding.
Paramedics rushed to the Ozzy reef at around 12pm today after a distress beacon was set off. A rescue helicopter was also deployed.
The man was taken back to the shore at Dungeness Boatramp in Townsville where he was immediately airlifted to Townsville Hospital.
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 added: “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.”
This year is Australia’s deadliest year for shark attacks since 2014, with seven deaths recorded to date.
The most recent person to die from a shark attack in Oz was Andrew Sharpe, 52 who was attacked while surfing with friends at Kelp Beds in Western Australia.
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.
The shark control method is designed to be non-lethal and to send an alert when a shark has been captured on the line which is anchored to the sea floor.
Last year, the state government decided to remove SMART drumlines from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in September following a federal court decision.
This was because fisheries staff would be put at risk by attempting to release the sharks.
But the decision was made in February to reinstall the conventional lines, allowing them to exercise discretion over whether a shark could be released.