Shark bites off British man's foot, mauls another in Australian attack

Two British tourists were injured in a shark attack in northeastern Australia on Tuesday morning, with one losing his foot.

One man, 28, had his foot bitten off by the shark and the other man, 22, suffered severe calf lacerations.

The men reportedly told emergency workers that they were thrashing in the water before the attack.

"One of the male patients was attacked first and the shark is believed to have come back and attacked the second patient ... they were attacked in a very short period of time", Queensland Ambulance Service operations manager Tracey Eastwick told the Brisbane Times.

It was reported the men were attacked while in the water near Hook Passage, a body of water between Whitsunday Island and Hook Island which is popular with snorkellers.

However it is still unclear what the men were doing when they were attacked.

They were transported in a serious but stable condition, paramedics said.

A statement from Tourism Whitsundays said: "Our first thoughts are with the two people involved in the incident and their welfare; as well as the other passengers and crew on the boat".

Drum lines were briefly installed in the Whitsundays region and six large sharks were killed following the September attacks, prompting heated debate within the community.

Daniel Christidis, 33, from Victoria, was mauled to death at Cid Harbour during a boating trip with friends.

Earlier this year a man was hospitalised after being bitten on the thigh in waters at Hardy Reef, about 50km northeast of Hamilton Island.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan says governments at all levels are failing to protect locals and tourists.

A general view of Airlie Bay as seen on April 27, 2019 in Airlie Beach, Australia.

He said the entire area should be protected by a more robust shark control programme.

More than 750,000 people visit the Whitsunday Island region a year.

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