A 59-year-old man has been left in critical condition after he was attacked by a shark on Sunday at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, near the north Queensland city of Townsville, NBC News reports. The man, who was fishing when the sad incident occurred, was airlifted by paramedics from Britomart Reef to Townsville Hospital where the emergency team began treatment immediately.
Dr. David Humphrey of LifeFlight Australia said the man had been attacked on his thigh and pelvic region by the shark, which left him with life-threatening injuries. At the time of the attack, he was with a friend and they were spearfishing together.
Humphrey further said that the man was in a critical condition after the response of paramedics and would be undergoing surgery at the hospital. Information from the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, says there had been seven unprovoked shark attacks which proved fatal to the victims. Reports also said that two of those attacks had taken place in Queensland.
Australia has one of the highest numbers of unprovoked shark attacks in the world. According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File in 2019, the country was second only to the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans.
Frequent shark attack in the country has prompted experts to consider what may have given rise to the sharks’ hunt for preys. A critical factor such as the La Nina weather event, connected with the cooler nature of the sea surface temperature in the central Pacific has been cited.
The Australian Shark Attack File said it’s been up to eight decades since six people last died from unprovoked shark bites in a single year. In 1929, nine people died as a result of an unprovoked shark attack in Australia.
In 2020 so far, there have been 18 unprovoked shark bites in Australia – one more than last year’s count of 17. In 2015, there were 22.
Gary Johnson, an experienced diver, lost his life in January when he was attacked by a shark in Western Australia. In April, Zachary Robba, a 23-year-old wildlife ranger, was killed off the Great Barrier Reef.