Shark kills Australian wildlife worker on Great Barrier Reef

A shark has fatally mauled a young Australian wildlife worker on the Great Barrier Reef

BRISBANE, Australia -- A shark fatally mauled a young Australian wildlife worker on the Great Barrier Reef, officials said Tuesday.

Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 23-year-old victim worked for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Police said the man was in the water, returning to a vessel chartered by the service when he was attacked Monday near North West Island, 75 kilometers (47 miles) northeast of Gladstone. He suffered extensive injuries to his leg and arm and died at a hospital hours later.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Anderson said the ranger had been doing maintenance work before the attack. The victim was the last person out of the water.

“At the end of the day there were four people swimming off the back of a boat, cooling down after a day’s work,” he told reporters.

Last October, two British backpackers were attacked while snorkeling at Hook Island in the Whitsunday Islands. One of the men lost his foot.

In March 2019, a 25-year-old man suffered serious thigh injuries when a shark attacked him at Hardy Reef, near Hamilton Island, also in the Whitsundays chain.

And in November 2018, Victorian doctor Daniel Christidis, 33, was killed at Cid Harbour at Whitsunday Island.