Kiwi girl 'critical' after shark attack

Justine Barwick was attacked by a shark while on an annual trip with her husband and friends

Hannah was on holiday with her father and sister. The family lives in Melbourne but is originally from New Zealand, the Courier Mail reports.

She is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after being mauled on the thigh and suffering significant blood loss.

The rescue helicopter landed on the shore of Whitsunday Island and water police ferried the helicopter's doctor and paramedic out to the vessel Miss Denero.

Justine Barwick underwent emergency surgery last night.

Marine Biologist Blake Chapman said it's more likely the Cid Harbour attacks were a mistake by sharks that had strayed into the area due to changed environmental conditions, such as prey movement.

The girl was initially taken to Mackay Base Hospital but is today being flown to Brisbane by the Royal Flying Doctor Service for further treatment by experienced vascular surgeons.

The 12-year-old had very large wounds and first-aiders did a wonderful job, Ms Eastwick said.

The hunt is underway for the sharks responsible for two near-fatal attacks in the pristine waters of the Whitsundays.

Barwick, 46, suffered severe leg and torso injuries when she was mauled by a shark in Cid Harbour as she swam with her husband and friends.

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"She was loaded into the helicopter and transported to Mackay Base Hospital arriving at 3.40pm (Thursday, Queensland time) in a critical condition".

"We're are also working with relevant government agencies in relation to both incidents", Mr Vanek said in a statement on Friday.

Nearby holidaymakers who witnessed the rescue of Justine Barwick said "there was blood everywhere".

Barwick is the operations manager with the Tasmanian community care organisation Family Based Care (FBC).

"It is possible that there's more than one shark involved in these unfortunate events", Fisheries Queensland manager Jeff Krause told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Managing director Christophe Vanek says all its clients on the water have been warned to be vigilant and refrain from swimming in Cid Harbour and the broader Whitsundays for the foreseeable future.

Fisheries Queensland set three baited drum lines in the harbour on Friday morning at Sawmill Bay, which will remain in place for a week.

UPDATE 1.45pm: QUEENSLAND Yacht Charters has confirmed both shark attack victims had been passengers on board vessels under their management.


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