Man Winched from Dive Pontoon After Shark Attack in Whitsundays

RACQ CQ Rescue has airlifted a man with a shark bite to his buttock and hip from a popular diving spot in the Whitsundays on March 25.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked about 12.40pm to fly to Hardy Reef, about 70km offshore and north-east of the Whitsunday Islands, after reports a swimmer had been bitten on the leg.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter flew direct to the scene and hovered just above a dive pontoon to enable the Critical Care Paramedic and rescue crewman to exit the aircraft. The two crew were then ferried over to a 42-metre super yacht where the patient was.

The 25-year-old Airlie Beach man had suffered a bite wound to his right buttock and left hip and was bleeding badly. He told rescuers he believed the shark responsible was a bronze whaler. He was wearing board shorts and had been swimming in water near the anchored boat when the attack occurred.

The man, believed to be a boat skipper, was transferred back to the dive pontoon by tender and was winched up in the rescue helicopter accompanied by the paramedic, followed then by the rescue crewman.

He was flown to Mackay Base Hospital arriving in a stable condition at 3pm.

Hardy Reef is one of the many thousands of small reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef and is approximately 60km north-east of Airlie Beach.

It is the fourth shark bite RACQ CQ Rescue has attended in just six months, the other three occurring at Cid Harbour near Whitsunday Island in September and October last year.