Girl critical after 2nd shark attack on same Australian isle

A woman has been bitten on the leg in a shark attack off Whitsunday Island

The 46-year-old woman suffered significant leg and torso injuries after the incident at Cid Harbour about 5pm on Wednesday.

She is being transported to hospital.

Last year, a spate of shark attacks off Australia's northeast coast led to the controversial deployment of protective nets, which authorities said would save lives and guard the country's reputation as a tourist destination.

An avid snorkeller, Justine Barwick was swimming near her family yacht during her annual holiday at Queensland's picturesque Whitsundays, a warm change from her Tasmanian home town of Burnie.

Ms Barwick, a mother of two, would likely have bled to death without the quick-thinking actions of people in nearby boats.

A 12-year-old girl has been injured in the second shark attack in 24 hours near Whitsunday Island.

The hospital reported the woman, from Tasmania, remained in a critical condition on Thursday after undergoing surgery on Wednesday night.

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Police and fisheries officers have stepped up patrols in the area.

"She was then treated by a doctor who was on the yacht before crews arrived, where she was transferred to a smaller dinghy and then winched by the helicopter".

In a series of tweets, RACQ Rescue confirmed it had sent the rescue helicopter to Cid Harbour to retrieve the victim.

By the time she was pulled from the water, she was rapidly losing blood. "She's very lucky to be alive".

Emergency department doctor John Hadok.

'Justine is a fighter, a fit, resilient woman who is an outstanding leader in the aged and disability care sectors, ' he said.

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