A paramedic on Sunday said that a diver was mauled by a 4-meter (13-foot) bull shark off the northern part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The man, 55, sustained several bites to his left arm and stomach. The paramedic, David Cameron, said the diver was flown to an Australian hospital in stable condition, where he was going to have microsurgery performed on his arm.
The 55-year-old man was an experienced diver, according to The New York Times, who was in the Torres Strait with friends free diving from a boat chartered from Cairns, Queensland. People who free dive do not use any breath apparatus.
The diver was with other divers, 15 meters (50 feet) under water, when he was attacked by the bull shark off of Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef. Cameron stated that the bull shark came up behind the diver and it bit his arm several times, as well as his stomach. He said that his left are sustained the most severe injuries. Cameron said that the diver was “very lucky to walk away” from the shark attack.
After getting bitten multiple times by the bull shark, the diver swam back to the boat. Cameron stated the boat then took to the closest medical facility, which is located on Murray Island, about three hours away from the shark attack. Murray Island is about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Australia.
Cameron said that there was an attempt made transfer the injured diver from the boat to a rescue helicopter. However, due to heavy rains, the attempt aborted.
During a weather break, Cameron said that the diver was flown from Murray Island to the Thursday Island Hospital, located to the north of Queensland, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) away. He spent the night there, and Sunday was flown to Cairns, another 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, for microsurgery. Cameron added that the diver had been attacked by a shark previously.
The BBC News reported that emergency services said the diver, attacked in a remote area off the north Queensland coast of Australia by a bull shark, waited over eight hours to be treated for his wounds. The remoteness of the location where the dive took place accounted for how long it took for the diver to get the care needed. Queensland Ambulance Service Supervisor Kirk Binnington said that the shark attack took place about 65 nautical miles (75 miles; 120km) east of Murray Island.
The attack that took place off of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, also injured the divers hand and chest. Billington, according to ABC News, said that the diver bitten by the bull shark was the captain of the ship the group was diving from.
By John Samuels