In Brief

Australia shark attacks: two injured in less than 24 hours

Officials say two attacks in such a short time span is ‘unprecedented’

Two people are in critical condition after being attacked by sharks at a popular tourist spot at a harbour in the Whitsunday Islands in north Queensland.

The first attack took place on Wednesday, when 46-year-old Justine Barwick, a tourist from Tasmania, was attacked by a large shark while snorkelling near a yacht in Cid Harbour, leaving her with life-threatening injuries to her torso and leg.

A 12-year-old New Zealand girl holidaying with her father was attacked in the same waters less than 24 hours later, causing a “significant leg injury”, according to the Queensland Ambulance Service.

Both victims were stabilised on board nearby boats, before being ferried to land and airlifted to hospital.

Fisheries Queensland shark control program manager Jeff Krause said: “It is very unusual in such a short period of time — it's just unprecedented.”

Krause told the ABC that the department is advising people not to swim in the area, and that three baited drum lines will be set in a bid to catch the shark responsible for the attacks.

“We don't normally go out and search for any sharks that may have been involved in a shark attack,” Krause said, adding: “It is possible that there’s more than one shark involved in these unfortunate events.”

“This is a tropical area,“ Sea World marine services director Trevor Long told reporters. “There’s probably four species that could be involved in it, probably the worst of those species would be a tiger shark,“

“Unprovoked shark attacks have killed one person and injured 14 others in Australia this year,” the BBC reports.

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