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Honors for the popular physician killed in a "tragic" shark attack

The Victorian doctor, who was fatally raped by a shark while on vacation in the Whitsunday Islands, was remembered as a "shining spark."

Daniel Christidis, 33, has worked as a urologist at Melbourne's Western Health since February and died Monday night in Cid Harbor on the attack of an unknown shark.

"We've been devastated by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, he was a fantastic doctor and an extraordinary person," said Dr. Paul Eleftheriou, Chief Medical Officer of Western Health, in honor of the "wildly respected" Dr. Christidis.

Dr. Daniel Christidis was a respected urologist at Austin Health in Victoria.
Dr. Daniel Christidis was a respected urologist at Austin Health in Victoria. (Twitter)

"He was not just a medical researcher, but also a shining spark in the lives of many here at Western Health.

"Our thoughts are with his family … we mourn with you and are here to assist you in this difficult time."

The 33-year-old man had to be revived twice before being landed by the nearby attacked yacht. (Supplied)

Dr. Eleftheriou said that the hospital staff were also supported.

"He touched the lives of many people while at Western Health," he said.

Professor Helen O'Connell, Director of the Department of Surgery and Head of Unit of the Urology Department of Western Health, also paid tribute to Christidis.

When the rescue helicopter arrived, the paramedics had to be brought to the yacht with a small boat to handle the victim. (Supplied)
The Victorian man was taken by helicopter to Mackay Base Hospital, where he arrived at around 8:00 pm for surgery. (Supplied)

"Dan was a great person to work with and we are all richer to know him, unfortunately too short. He was sympathetic to the patients and went the extra mile to help them, "said Professor O'Connell in a statement.

"The accomplished professional, especially for someone who is so young, he already encouraged younger doctors to pursue a surgical career and participate in academic projects."

Dr. Christidis had recently completed his doctoral thesis at Austin Health. A spokeswoman for the hospital said employees were offered advice after the "tragic loss".


"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Dr. Daniel Christidis, who was a research fellow at Austin Health, and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

It was the third major shark attack in Cid Harbor in two months, after Tasmanian wife Justine Barwick and Melbourne girl Hannah Papps were bitten in separate attacks in September.

Marine biologist Blake Chapman said it was difficult to say what had changed and whether the three attacks indicated an increase in shark activity. However, he felt that more research should be done to find out.

Queensland boating and fishing patrol boats patrol in Cid Harbor in September. (AAP)

"We need to look at the baitfish movement, we have to look at the water conditions … all the other factors that could happen in that area and obviously change the activity of the sharks," Dr. Chapman.

"Because this was not an issue two months ago, it was pretty much unknown in this area, so something has changed and that's what we need to find out."

Hannah Papps lost her right leg after a shark attack near the same location. (Supplied)

The drumlines were temporarily used to reassure the public in September after the first two attacks, but will not be reinstated, the Queensland government said.

They are baited hook lines that catch sharks and other marine life, which are then killed or later killed by fisheries officials.

Justine Barwick was bitten by a shark in Cid Harbor, Whitsunday, in September. (AAP)

Tourism Secretary Kate Jones said the expert opinion pointed out that headlines are not the most effective way to combat shark populations.

"We are talking about a very sprawling area, and I would certainly hate the news that it is safe to swim in the Whitsundays if we can not guarantee that safety," said Ms. Jones.

This weekend, signs are being posted telling people that under no circumstances should anyone swim in Cid Harbor.

Natassia Wheeler, CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, said they supported all efforts to educate visitors about the dangers of sharks in the region.

-With AAP

© AAP 2018


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