Spear fisherman dies at island

A SPEAR fisherman has died after a dramatic attempt to save his life off Moreton Island failed.

The man had failed to surface from a free-dive after spear fishing with friends of the north eastern tip of the island about 11am on Monday.

His friends saw a large shark near him when they found him on the ocean floor.

The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter crew was tasked to search for the man until they received an update he had been pulled from the water.

Air Crewman Dan King said the helicopter came overhead to find three small boats, similar to surf life saving IRBs, moored together.

"Other divers had been searching for him, they spotted his spear on the bottom and then saw him," he said.

"They told us a large shark was nearby trying to take a fish off the spear."

"They had to free dive 24m just to reach the man but they managed to get him to the surface and into their boat.

"They were working hard to save his life.

"Rescue crewman Shannon Gardner was winched onto the make-shift pontoon.

"The conditions were quite unstable with the increasing swell buffeting the boats," he said.

Mr Gardner attached a guide rope, known as a high-line, to the winch hook as the flight paramedic prepared to be winched in.

The paramedic was nearing the tethered boats when the loan anchor holding them steady gave way.

The tension also snapped the high-line's safety link.

The paramedic was safely winched back to the helicopter.

"I had to re-assess the situation then and make a decision based on the safety of the others on the boat and, of course, the helicopter crew," he said.

"With the anchor broken we'd drifted closer to shore so we motored for the beach.

"We worked on the patient the whole way and came ashore just around the north-eastern tip.

"Our doctor was set up and ready to go just as we ran onto the beach."

The helicopter's flight doctor and flight paramedic took over the effort to revive the man.

Attempts to revive the man lasted more than an hour but he could not be saved.



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