British man has foot bitten off, another hurt in Australian shark attack

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A British man had his foot bitten off and another was injured in a shark attack off Australia’s northeast coast, emergency officials in Queensland state said.

The pair of tourists were on a snorkeling tour near Airlie Beach in the popular Whitsunday Passage region when they were attacked.

They were flown by helicopter to Mackay Base Hospital, about 950 km (590 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane, in a serious but stable condition, the state rescue service known as RACQ CQ Rescue said on Twitter.

“An English tourist has had his foot bitten off and another has serious lacerations to his lower leg after a shark attack in the Whitsundays today,” it said.

The men told the rescue crew they were wrestling and thrashing about in the water when the attack occurred.

The Queensland Ambulance Service said a 28-year-old man had his right foot bitten off in the attack and that the second man, aged 22, suffered serious calf lacerations.

There have been at least four shark attacks in the Whitsundays since September last year, one of them fatal.

Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Paul Tait