CANBERRA, Australia -- A shark has killed a man in an island harbor on Australia's Great Barrier Reef where two tourists were mauled on consecutive days in September. The spate of attacks has left authorities struggling to explain an apparent escalation in danger in an internationally-renowned vacation destination.
The 33-year-old victim was among 10 friends who set out from Airlie Beach on the Queensland state mainland on Monday morning on a rented yacht to sail themselves on a five-day cruise through the idyllic Whitsunday Islands, Police Inspector Steve O'Connell said.
They anchored 14 miles from Airlie Beach in Cid Harbor, intending to spend their first night in the popular, protected anchorage on Whitsunday Island, the uninhabited largest island in the group, he said.
The victim was taking turns with a woman standing on a paddle board or swimming in the harbor late Monday afternoon. He had dived into the water to give the woman her turn on the board when he was attacked, O'Connell said.
"They did everything imaginable to try to save the man"
There were more than a dozen yachts in the harbor at the time. French-speaking tourists launched a dinghy from their yacht and rescued the man, O'Connell said.
They brought the victim to his own yacht, where most of the group had medical backgrounds, including two doctors.
"Despite their best efforts, the injuries were too severe," O'Connell told reporters.