Emma Andersson and Billy Ludvigsson.
Emma Andersson and Billy Ludvigsson. Georgia Simpson

Nurses made tourniquet to save man's life

THE blue water turned crimson for a moment after a shark mauled two English backpackers in the Whitsundays yesterday.

Holidaying European couple Billy Ludvigsson and Emma Andersson weren't phased by the blood pooling in the waters around Alistair Raddon and Danny Maggs - they instead leapt into action after years of working in Sweden as nurses.

Mr Ludvigsson, a nurse in an ambulance, and Ms Andersson, an emergency department nurse, have been credited with saving the men's lives.

Mr Ludvigsson and Ms Andersson had been snorkelling with the other tourists and were climbing back onto the boat when they first heard the word 'shark' being screamed across the water.

Mr Ludvigsson said he didn't take the message seriously at first, but the screams just kept ringing out.

Then they learned the true extent of the emergency, seeing blood seep out into the water and the injured men badly bleeding.

"The injured person got up on the boat with a paddleboard and we needed to sort out the injury,” he said.

Immediately the pair switched into work mode, creating a makeshift tourniquet using a rope to stem the bleeding on Mr Raddon's wound.

"We started to stop the bleeding first and went back to the other guy,” Ms Andersson said.

As they worked to save the men, the crew on the boat quickly turned the vessel around and hurried back to shore.

Mr Ludvigsson said both the men were 'cracking jokes' on the boat ride home, despite their serious injuries.

Ms Andersson said the experience was different to tackling an emergency situation at work.

"We didn't know anything, we didn't have to prepare so of course it's different,” she said.

Mr Ludvigsson said it was rare to be called into action so far from home.

There was no panic on the boat ride back to Coral Sea Marina and the crew members responded well, the pair said.

"Everyone was very quiet, they have a poor job to sit there and observe it's very weird,” Mr Ludvigsson said.

The tour group were snorkelling in Hook Passage when the two Englishmen were attacked by a shark.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler today said she would be asking both the Federal and State Governments to contribute funding for immediate, daily aerial surveillance.

"Our priority is visitors to this beautiful region,” she said.

"We've got hero experiences and a destination that is frequented so visitor safety is our number one priority.

"We hope that with the Whitsundays being the iconic destination that it is, that the visitors will continue to enjoy our destination.”