Latest: Girl critically ill after second shark attack hits Australian island

Update 9.56am: A girl has been attacked by a shark off the same Great Barrier Reef island in Australia where a woman was mauled a day earlier.

The 12-year-old was rescued by helicopter from Cid Harbour on Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland state coast after being bitten on the upper leg.

The girl, who was on holiday with her father and sister, is in a critical condition and will undergo surgery.

She had lost a significant amount of blood after she was mauled on the thigh, said Queensland ambulance operations manager Tracey Eastwick.

Ms Eastwick said: “It is horrific … for us as a community of paramedics it is quite confronting to have two similar incidents in the space of less than 24 hours.”

Before this week’s events, the last shark attack in the area was eight years ago.

The Queensland government will set three drum lines in the area in a bid to prevent any further attacks.

Fisheries officers and water police are also patrolling the area, while swimmers were told to stay out of the water at the popular holiday hotspot.

On Wednesday evening, Justine Barwick, 46, was mauled off the same island while snorkelling.

The mother of two is in a critical condition in the same Mackay Base Hospital following overnight surgery.

A rescue helicopter which scrambled to pick her up was just 15 minutes away from the scene due to an earlier operation.

Crewman Ben McCauley said an emergency doctor who was sailing nearby and others who gave first aid to Barwick had likely saved her life.

- Press Association

Earlier: Woman in critical condition after Barrier Reef shark attack

Update 6.51am: Officials say a woman is in critical condition after she was mauled by a shark on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Ambulance spokeswoman Tracey Eastwick says the 46-year-old tourist from Tasmania state was swimming on Wednesday from a yacht in Cid harbour on Whitsunday Island off the Queensland state coast when she was attacked by the shark that mauled her upper thigh.

She says a Mackay Base Hospital doctor happened to be on a nearby yacht and helped slow the bleeding before a rescue helicopter arrived.

The woman reached the hospital complaining of significant levels of pain.

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

- Press Association

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