In a popular tourist spot off the coast of Queensland, Australia, two unlucky swimmers were attacked by sharks within the same 24-hour period, reports CNN. The attacks occurred in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, filled with bays lined with pristine beaches and surrounded by turquoise water.
The first attack involved 46-year-old Tasmanian tourist Justine Barwick on Wednesday afternoon while she was swimming near a yacht in Sawmill Bay. A shark bite to her upper thigh left her bleeding profusely, prompting authorities to airlift her to Mackay Base Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery.
Rescue helicopter crewman Ben McCauley told reporters that a doctor who happened to be sailing nearby saw the attack and provided Barwick with first aid before the helicopter arrived on the scene, according to The Australian.
“The original first aid was actually really well done. We actually didn’t have to do anything with the leg, it was pretty much tourniqueted up, bandaged up and bleeding had stopped. They’d done a really good job.”
McCauley added that the amount of blood loss that Barwick had suffered was extremely worrying, commenting, “If we weren’t around in the area by the time she got back to the mainland, she probably wouldn’t have made it with the amount of blood she’d already lost.”
The second attack, another shark bite to the leg, involved a 12-year-old girl on Thursday in Cid Harbour. The Queensland Ambulance Service tweeted about the incident.
“Paramedics are treating a female child in a serious condition with a significant leg injury after being bitten by a shark in waters near Cid Harbour. A critical care paramedic is at the scene with the RACQ CQ (Royal Automobile Club of Queensland) helicopter.”
Per The Australian, Queensland Ambulance Service operations manager Tracey Eastwick told reporters, “It is horrific… for us as a community of paramedics it is quite confronting to have two similar incidents in the space of less than 24 hours.”
Both victims are in the same hospital recovering in the critical care unit. Fisheries Queensland released a statement advising beachgoers to stay out of the water and assuring that a fisheries vessel was patrolling the harbor. The Queensland Shark Control Program is also planning on placing drum lines in the area on Friday — traps to lure and capture large sharks.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, 33 shark bites have been recorded so far in 2018, with two casualties.