The first mate aboard M/Y DeLisle III was bitten by a shark while in the waters of the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia, on March 25. Several online media report that Ryan Bowring, 25, is recovering after being airlifted by RACQ CQ.
Rescue service RACQ CQ reported that the rescue helicopter flew about 70km offshore and northeast of the Whitsundays. The company posted the following report on its Facebook page:
“The rescue helicopter flew direct to the scene and hovered just above a dive pontoon to enable the critical care paramedic and rescue crewman to exit the aircraft. The two crew were then ferried over to a 42m superyacht where the patient was.
“The 25-year-old Airlie Beach man had suffered a bite wound to his right buttock and left hip and was bleeding badly. He told rescuers he believed the shark responsible was a bronze whaler.
He was winched up into the aircraft from the pontoon and arrived at Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition at 3 p.m.”
An online statement from Bowring was posted by Whitsundays Online:
“Thank you to everyone who has asked after me following the shark incident at Block Reef yesterday. I am doing OK and really want to take the opportunity to thank my crew mates, the RACQ CQ Helicopter staff and members of the emergency services for their help.
“Contrary to reports, I was not spearfishing or diving in what was about 3 metres of water. I had been in the water for about 20 seconds, about to lead a snorkelling tour, when I felt the initial bump and bite.
“I can only assume that when I entered the water I must have come in on top of, or surprised the Grey Reef Shark, causing it to retaliate.
“The reef is a stunning place, full of incredible marine life, and I have been disappointed that what was really a freak accident has been portrayed as something more sinister.
“At this stage, I am being well looked after in hospital after surgery last night and my focus is on recovering and getting back to work. I would appreciate that you respect my privacy during this time.”
Whitsundays Online also posted an update on March 26 to clarify media reports attributed to a spokesperson for the yacht:
“At around 12:15 two crew members entered the water to assess the conditions before leading guests on a snorkelling tour of the reef. It was a clear day with good visibility and good light.
They had been in approximately 3 metres of water clearing their masks when the First Mate of the vessel received a bite wound in the leg from what the crew identified as a Grey Reef Whaler approximately 1.5 metres in length.
The crew member was immediately returned to the vessel and received first aid whilst emergency services were contacted. He was then airlifted to hospital. We thank QAS for their speedy response.
Such incidents are rare and it is likely the animal was startled by the disturbance.
Our crew and the Hardy Reef pontoon were calm and efficient throughout the process and we thank them for their exemplary work.”
For more visit Brisbane Times.