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British man has foot bitten off in Australian shark attack. Swedes use ropes, towels to save victim

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Sydney/ Melbourne, Australia   /   Wed, October 30, 2019   /   05:35 pm
British man has foot bitten off in Australian shark attack. Swedes use ropes, towels to save victim Victims of shark attack in Australia (Reuters/-)

A British man had his foot bitten off and another was injured in a shark attack off Australia's northeast coast, emergency officials in Queensland state said.

The pair of tourists were on a snorkelling tour near Airlie Beach in the popular Whitsunday Passage region when they were attacked.

They were flown by helicopter to Mackay Base Hospital, about 950 km (590 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane, in a serious but stable condition, the state rescue service known as RACQ CQ Rescue said on Twitter.

"An English tourist has had his foot bitten off and another has serious lacerations to his lower leg after a shark attack in the Whitsundays today," it said.

The men told the rescue crew they were wrestling and thrashing about in the water when the attack occurred.

The Queensland Ambulance Service said a 28-year-old man had his right foot bitten off in the attack and that the second man, aged 22, suffered serious calf lacerations.

There have been at least four shark attacks in the Whitsundays since September last year, one of them fatal. 

Meanwhile, Swedish couple on holiday in Australia were hailed for saving a British man whose foot was bitten off and another who was injured in a shark attack off a popular tourist beach.

Billy Ludvigsson, an ambulance nurse, and Emma Andersson, an emergency room nurse, were on a snorkeling trip off the Whitsunday Islands on Tuesday, when they heard screams as they were climbing back into their boat.

When the two injured men were brought aboard, the couple jumped into action, making a tourniquet from ropes and towels for the man whose foot was bitten off.

"The bleeding was severe, life-threatening at first," Ludvigsson told reporters on Wednesday.

"I think we might have actually saved his life."

The duo said the injured men, Alistair Raddon and Danny Maggs, were "really cool" and cracking jokes as the boat sped back to shore.

"He was in pain of course, but he was amazing," Ludvigsson said of Raddon, who had lost his foot.

Raddon and Maggs were out of surgery and recovering on Wednesday.

"We have been advised they are in good spirits," Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Tash Wheeler said in a statement.

After five shark attacks in the Whitsundays over the past year, including one death, the tourism body has urged immediate government funding for daily air surveillance in specific bays to watch out for sharks