Eager snorkeller Justine Barwick had simply jumped off a ship – as she had carried out many instances earlier than – into Cid Harbour to get pleasure from a swim together with her husband and buddies.
She was attacked virtually instantly.
A pal who was already within the water on the time had escaped damage.
Ms Barwick felt the shark “slam” into her and pushed it away earlier than she swam about one metre again to the boat and pulled herself up.
Ms Barwick was then confused as to why her legs weren’t working.
The 46-year-old was then flown to a Mackay hospital the place she was preventing for all times after struggling leg and torso accidents.
Ms Barwick was the primary of a number of shark assault victims that adopted, together with 12-year-old Hannah Papps, who was bitten lower than 24 hours after her in the identical harbour.
A Victorian physician misplaced his life two months later when he was fatally mauled by a shark within the Whitsundays.
Ms Barwick advised The Advocate Information she had not seen something within the water to trigger concern earlier than the assault.
“And I might jumped, dived into the water there actually 1000’s of instances earlier than,” she stated.
Ms Barwick stated she discovered it troublesome to explain what occurred subsequent however the shark instantly “slammed” into her.
“I used to be actually scared. I feel it was a fight-or-flight second as a result of I simply swam straight again to the boat and I obtained out of the water and my pal was nonetheless within the water,” she stated.
“That makes me somewhat bit unhappy that I knew that there was a shark within the water and my survival intuition was so sturdy that I obtained out first.”
5 months on, Ms Barwick has returned to her function as operations supervisor at Household Primarily based Care Tasmania.
She continued to obtain common physiotherapy as a part of her rehabilitation however was left with lifelong disabilities on account of the shark chew.
Household Primarily based Care Tasmania chief government Douglass Doherty stated he was glad the workforce may help Ms Barwick throughout her restoration however may vividly recall listening to her story.
“It is troublesome. All of us assume the chums are going to be with us for the remainder of lives however when this form of tragedy strikes, it makes us realise how fragile human life is and that we actually ought to take the time to understand them,” he stated.
“Justine is a really sturdy individual and a fighter.”
Mr Doherty stated there was a spot within the enterprise whereas Ms Barwick was away from work.
“It is with nice reduction that I welcome Justine again to work, her data and experience is large,” he stated.
Ms Barwick stated she was overwhelmed by the group assist acquired for her household and her office throughout her restoration.
She stated she was “extremely fortunate to be alive” and hoped to return to as regular a life as attainable.
-with Lachlan Bennett