Australian Woman Critical After Being Attacked By A Shark While Swimming

David Fleetham  Barcroft India  Barcroft Media via Getty Images

David Fleetham Barcroft India Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Ambulance spokeswoman Tracey Eastwick said the woman, named as Justine Barwick, was swimming off a yacht in Cid harbour on Wednesday when the incident happened. It's understood she was bleeding heavily from a leg injury when she was pulled from the water.

The hovering chopper drew the attention of John Hadok, an emergency doctor from Mackay Base Hospital, who was sailing nearby and soon joined the effort to save Ms Barwick's life.

'He was able to assist with immediate treatment of the patient and to stabilise the serious haemorrhage that she had'.

In a series of tweets, RACQ Rescue confirmed it had sent the rescue helicopter to Cid Harbour to retrieve the victim.

The girl, 12, was flown to hospital on Thursday also in a critical condition, Queensland Ambulance Service said.

Experts said shark attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular and bait fish move closer to shore, but fatalities remain rare.

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"At approximately 1343 we received a notification that a young child had been bitten by a shark in the Whitsunday Islands", she said.

While parts of the area has shark nets in place, they don't necessarily provide an impenetrable barrier between swimmers and sharks.

Local authorities have reportedly warned holidaymakers and locals not to swim in the area.

Just a day after a Tasmanian woman was attacked by a shark in north Queensland, a second attack has occurred at a nearby location.

Ms Whiley lost both her arms in the attack and later died from massive blood loss.

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