Tourists Told To Stop Swimming In Great Barrier Reef After Shark Attacks
By Isha Thorpe
If you’re planning on touring the Whitsunday Islands in Australia in the near future, be careful. Visitors are being urged to stop swimming in the Great Barrier Reef after two consecutive shark attacks took place within 24 hours.
On Wednesday (Sept. 19), a 46-year-old woman was attacked by a shark and the next day, Thursday (Sept. 20), a 10-year-old girl was bitten, as well. The two victims are now in critical, but stable condition.
Authorities said that the chances of shark attacks in the area have always been extremely low, even though the shark population is high. But now, authorities are taking major precautions after the attack. Queensland Yacht Charter, the company who operates the yachts that the two victims were on, said that it has warned other tourists to stay out of the waters.
“It is possible that there’s more than one shark involved in these unfortunate events,” Fisheries Queensland manager Jeff Krause said. “We don’t normally go out and search for any sharks that may have been involved in a shark attack, but due to the nature of these multiple attacks, Fisheries Queensland is going to deploy three drum lines in a bid to try and catch some of the sharks in that area.”
Authorities have also taken precautions a step further. According to KTLA, six sharks in the Whitsunday Islands have been killed by Australian fisheries personnel since the attacks. One of the killed sharks was as big as 12 feet long. “As per the Fisheries Queensland protocol, the sharks were humanely euthanized, measured and taken out to sea for disposal,” a Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said. “The message is these waters are not safe for swimming. During this holiday period, we urge people to exercise caution, stay out of the water and not throw food scraps overboard from boats.”
The Taronga Conservation Society Australia reports that 35 shark attacks have taken place in the country this year alone. Two of these attacks have resulted in death.