Shark attacks man at the Whitsundays

A man was lucky to escape with his life after he was bitten by a shark as he swam at the Whitsundays on Monday.

The 25 year old Airlie Beach man suffered a bite wound to his right buttock and left hip and lost a lot of blood. He told rescuers he believed the shark responsible was a bronze whaler.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked about 12.40pm Monday and flew to Hardy Reef, about 70 kilometres offshore and north-east of the Whitsunday Islands.

RELATED: A third shark attack victim airlifted by RACQ CQ Rescue

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter flew directly to the scene and hovered just above a dive pontoon to enable the Critical Care Paramedic and rescue crewman to repel from the aircraft. The two crew were then ferried over to a 42 metre super yacht where the patient was.

The man, believed to be a boat skipper, was transferred back to the dive pontoon by tender and was winched to the rescue helicopter with the paramedic, before he was flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a stable condition.

It was the fourth shark bite RACQ CQ Rescue has attended in just six months, the other three occurred at Cid Harbour near Whitsunday Island in September and October last year.

This latest mission came on the same afternoon the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Helicopter was called in to assist in a search for a boatie who had activated his distress beacon off the coast of Elliott Heads.

The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper joined the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in the search just before 4pm Monday.

Shortly after the crew arrived at the search area, it located a 4.8 metre alloy tinnie, with the man on board. He was safe but told rescuers he had run out of fuel and spent some time drifting, before he activated the beacon.

The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crew notified Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) personnel on the ground and monitored the boat until the rescue vessel arrived. It was believed VMR then towed the tinnie into shore.