Fish­er­man saw shark swarm be­fore at­tack

The West Australian - - NEWS - Thomas Cham­ber­lin

Fish­er­man Ron Bren­nan was not far from Cid Har­bour in the Whit­sun­days when his boat was swarmed by what he says were 1000 sharks — just be­fore the at­tacks on two swim­mers this week.

In 30 years of fish­ing, Mr Bren­nan said he had never seen so many sharks as he did on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day night.

“There were ham­mer­head sharks, bull sharks, black-tip sharks, then we had our stan­dard tiger sharks,” he said.

“They were eat­ing other sharks out of the net.

“It was just car­nage — over 1000 sharks. My boat is six me­tres and there wouldn’t have been enough room in my boat to put these sharks. I’ve never seen any­thing like it.”

Mr Bren­nan was fish­ing in Repulse Bay.

“The net wasn’t even in the wa­ter for an hour,” he said. “We had to start pick­ing them up be­cause they said he nearby were sink­ing them.” Han­nah Papps, 12, was still bat­tling for her life last night af­ter be­ing at­tacked on Thurs­day.

Her res­cuers yes­ter­day de­scribed how she smiled and gave them the “thumbs up” as she was loaded into a he­li­copter at a re­mote beach on Whit­sun­day Is­land.

Han­nah was yes­ter­day flown from Mackay to Queens­land Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Bris­bane.

Res­cuers said the school­girl was “brave” and “stoic”, de­spite hav­ing hor­rific in­juries to her leg that have left her in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Han­nah was mauled just 24 hours af­ter Tas­ma­nian Jus­tine Bar­wick was at­tacked.

The 46-year-old was bit­ten on her left thigh while snorkelling and was last night in a sta­ble but crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Shag Islet Cruis­ing Yacht Club vice-com­modore Gabby Cre­han said she was swim­ming in the har­bour 15 min­utes be­fore Ms Bar­wick was at­tacked on Wed­nes­day.

“The first we knew of it, there was scream­ing,” she said.

“The guys who came up in the dinghy look­ing for a doc­tor said she had been at­tacked by a bull shark. Then some­one said later it could have been a tiger.”

Fish­eries Queens­land shark con­trol pro­gram man­ager Jeff Krause said it was too early to de­ter­mine what species was re­spon­si­ble for the at­tacks.

Marine bi­ol­o­gist Blake Chap­man said it was un­likely that a rogue shark was re­spon­si­ble for both at­tacks.

Han­nah Papps is trans­ferred from Mackay to Bris­bane.

Jus­tine Bar­wick

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