By Aaron Smith
THURSDAY Island Ambo Sean Molloy said the young American backpacker mauled by a shark this week was lucky to be alive, but was stoic despite her gruesome injuries.
The 21 year old had been working on one of commercial fisher Kailis’s cray fishing boats and had only been in the country for less than two weeks at the time of the incident, sources told Torres News.
She was snorkeling at dusk on Sunday July 28 just off Magra Islet near the mouth of the Lockhart River, when she was attacked by what is believed may have been a tiger shark.
A rescue helicopter and Mr Molloy were tasked to attend the incident, being the closest available medical assistance.
Mr Molley said it took a bit over an hour to reach the vessel and airlift the woman out.
“She was in a really bad way, but considering her injuries, she was the most stoic of all of them, chatting with us in the chopper on the way back to Lockhart River community.
Another crew member, suffering from shock was also airlifted and taken back to Thursday Island suffering from shock from the attack.
With serious lacerations from the knee down on the right leg, Mr Molloy said it was the fast actions of the crew on the boat that saved the woman's life, when they quickly got a tourniquet on her leg and called for assistance before she bled out.
“She managed to punch the shark, but it just kept coming for her,” Mr Molloy said.
Initially planning to return the patient to Thursday Island Hospital, they decided to fly her straight to Cairns Base Hospital.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service met us on the runway at Lockhart River and they got her down to Cairns in about 45 minutes, which would have been quicker than coming back to Thursday Island,” Mr Molloy said.
The woman remains in a stable condition at Cairns Hospital.