THE man mauled to death by a shark in Cid Harbour was on a sailing holiday with a group of friends and medical colleagues who fought to save his life before first responders arrived.

The unidentified man who sustained injuries to his left thigh, calf and his left wrist is the third person to be attacked by a shark in the harbour area in a space of three months following attacks on Justine Barwick and 12-year-old Hannah Papps.

Mackay District Inspector Steve O'Connell said the Victorian man was in the water with a woman using a stand-up paddleboard before the attack occurred.

"The incident happened after a group of 10 people arrived in the Airlie Beach area undertaking a sailing holiday," he said.

A number of friends travelling with the man worked in the medical industry, police confirmed.

"Most of (the sailing group) had a medical background, there were at least two Doctors on board who were able to render immediate first aid," he said.

"QAS and the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter were notified however by the time the helicopter arrived on scene the man had lost a substantial amount of blood and had entered cardiac arrest.

"CPR was ongoing for a very long time and every effort was made to save the man's life."

Police have reported the group of friends were sailing the 40-foot vessel themselves and did not have a skipper or crew present when they anchored in Cid Harbour mid-afternoon yesterday.

"At a point just before the incident, the woman has gotten out of the water and onto the stand-up paddleboard and the man has gone into the water," he said.

"Shortly here after he was the victim of the attack by the shark."

Insp O'Connell said both swimmers were pulled from the water by a boat of French tourists who were first to respond to the incident.

"The French-speaking people on board that vessel heard what was going on, used a tender to get across to the man and the woman and pulled them both on board," he said.

After they were pulled from the water, Insp O'Connell said the boat ferried both the woman and the injured man back to their boat, which was anchored further away.

Inspector O'Connell said the man's friends, who are now on Hamilton Island were "extremely distraught" following the event

"His injuries and his reaction to those injuries were so severe that unfortunately he [did] not survive shortly after his arrival at Mackay Base Hospital," he said.

A collective group of law enforcement including Queensland Police, Water Police, Boating and Fisheries Control and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority will be present on the water at the Cid Harbour area today.

"That is a safety strategy trying to warn people of the issues in the area and to provide messaging to people who may not be aware of what happened in Cid Harbour yesterday and September," Insp O'Connell said.


A tiger shark is retrieved from Cid Harbour after being caught in the drum lines following two attacks last week.
A tiger shark is retrieved from Cid Harbour after being caught in the drum lines following two attacks last week.

Police are unable to confirm the species of the shark but Insp O'Connell said all that could be confirmed was that a shark was sighted.