A Burnie woman is fighting for life after being attacked by a shark in Queensland.
Justine Barwick, 46, was snorkelling when she was attacked.
Mrs Barwick is the operations manager with Coastal organisation Family Based Care.
CEO Douglass Doherty said on Thursday he could confirm Mrs Barwick had been hospitalised as a result of a shark attack that took place about 5pm on Wednesday in the Whitsunday Passage.
“Justine was on leave with her husband and friends enjoying time on their family yacht as part of an annual trip to the Whitsundays,” Mr Doherty said.
“She is an avid snorkeler and enjoys these times away with family and friends.
“At this time Justine is in a critical but stable condition.
“Justine is a fighter - a fit resilient woman who is an outstanding leader in the aged and disability care sectors. These intrinsic attributes will serve her well in her recovery,” he said.
The quick actions of an emergency doctor in the right place at the right time “undoubtedly” saved the life of Mrs Barwick according to Queensland emergency services.
She suffered severe leg and torso injuries when she was attacked in Cid Harbour, off Whitsunday Island, while swimming near a yacht late on Wednesday afternoon.
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Mrs Barwick spent the night fighting for life in Mackay Base Hospital, where she remained on Thursday morning in critical condition.
RACQ CQ rescue crewman Ben McCauley said the shark had taken a "huge chunk" from the woman's inside leg and the quick actions of people onboard nearby vessels, including emergency department doctor John Hadok, saved her life.
Profusely bleeding, she was pulled from the water, transferred to a yacht and later moved to a dinghy to be winched up by a rescue helicopter dispatched from the coastal town of Proserpine.
“The people on scene who got her aboard that yacht and quickly packed the gaping wound to help stem the haemorrhaging undoubtedly saved her life," Mr McCauley said.
Queensland Ambulance Service manager of operations for Mackay Tracey Eastwick said the woman received immediate pain relief once onboard the helicopter.
“The patient was in a serious condition with a major haemorrhage and blood loss,” she said.
“At the time she had altered levels of consciousness and was in a significant amount of pain.”
She arrived at the Mackay hospital about 8pm, after the helicopter made a quick stop at Proserpine to pick up blood and to refuel.
“Given how serious her injuries were and how far from shore and from medical help they were, without the rescue helicopter I don’t think she would have made it back to the mainland alive,” Mr McCauley said.