Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Shark kills paddle boarder off the north-east coast of Australia

Shark kills paddle boarder off the north-east coast of Australia

Inspector Steve O'Connell of the Queensland Police Service said: "The group of 10 people were all very good friends and associates on holiday, and a lot of them had a medical background, which meant there were at least two doctors on board, who were able to render immediate first aid".

Australia ranked behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans in 2017, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File.

A man has died after a shark attack in northeastern Australia's Whitsunday Islands, just over a month after two people were critically injured in separate incidents in the same area.

"Despite their best efforts, the injuries were too severe", O'Connell told reporters.

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The attack follows two others in the same area in September, when a 12-year-old girl and a 46-year-old man suffered severe injuries from shark attacks while swimming on two consecutive days.

Tourism Whitsundays chief executive Peter O'Reilly said at the time that the Trumbull attack was the first in the islands in 13 years and only the third ever recorded. She lost her leg in the attack.

Whitsunday is the largest island in the Whitsunday Islands group, a major global tourist attraction popular with scuba divers and sailors where shark attacks have been rare.

"We need to now have the scientific background and investigation of what is causing this sudden spike of attacks and interactions with sharks".

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He said: "We see this pattern time and time again - all around the world - and we don't really understand why it is".

The species of sharks involved in the attacks have not yet been identified and Water Police and fishing boats were patrolling Cid Harbour on Tuesday, advising tourists on yachts to keep out of the water, O'Connell said.

Conservationists argue that drum lines kill sharks unethically, and also harm other marine life.

Gschwind called for a science-based response to the latest tragedy.

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