Fatal shark attack in northern Queensland

By AAP with AG staff December 16, 2014
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A recent high school graduate has been killed by a shark attack, while spear fishing off the coast of Port Douglas

A FAR NORTH Queensland community is grieving the death of an 18-year-old man who was attacked by a shark in front of shocked friends.

Mossman teenager Daniel Smith is believed to have been spearfishing with two of his friends who had used a tinny to get to Rudder Reef, north of Port Douglas, when he was mauled about 11.30am (AEST) on Monday.

The teenager’s mates made frantic attempts to perform CPR on the way back to shore, but he was pronounced dead when they arrived at Port Douglas around 1.30pm.

A helicopter wasn’t available to fly to the scene because it was already en route to Townsville with a patient.

But Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman Greg Thiedecke said the victim’s injuries were so severe he was unlikely to have survived even if a chopper had been able to reach him quickly.

He sustained massive injuries to his right upper leg, right groin and right upper arm, and suffered a heart attack, likely from blood loss, Greg said.

Vending machines bigger killers than sharks

“You’re twice as likely to get killed in a vending machine accident than a shark bite,” he said of the tragedy.

“One in 8000 people will have a car accident, while one in about 300 million will get a shark bite.”

It’s not known what type of shark attacked the teenager, who had only just completed his Year 12 schooling at the nearby Mossman high school.

The attack was unusual and would rattle the local community, Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu said.

“We’re a close-knit family and this will affect everyone in some way as we try to comprehend this tragedy,” she said.

“One of our own has been tragically killed just doing what we all do and that is to get out and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.”

She wasn’t able to say if the shark responsible would be hunted and destroyed by authorities.

According to the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, there are 134 shark species that call the GBR home; one of these is the tiger shark.