Shark bite victim urges tourists to come to FNQ



THE 29-year-old videographer bitten by a shark off Fitzroy Island and the members of her filming crew have urged people not to be deterred from visiting the region.

Sydney woman Anika Craney, who lost her home in the Carbago bushfire this year, received a laceration to her left ankle and a possible fracture while swimming near Welcome Bay off a private boat on Tuesday.

Anika Craney had been taking a break from an online series about marine life when she was bitten by a shark.
Anika Craney had been taking a break from an online series about marine life when she was bitten by a shark.

She was flown to Cairns Hospital and had surgery on Wednesday.

Speaking through her friend and boat captain, Dean Cropp, Ms Craney said Fitzroy Island was still a beautiful place and thanked the people and staff who helped her.

"She sends the most massive thank you to those who helped her before she was taken to hospital," Mr Cropp said.

"She said a large part of why she's still here was because of them and she's keen on going back."

Boat captain Dean Cropp.
Boat captain Dean Cropp.

Mr Cropp also said they did not intend to put a negative light on sharks.

Fellow crew member and Sydneysider Emily Phillips, who was only recently recruited as an intern as part of the crew filming an online series about marine life, was swimming with Ms Craney just before she was bitten.

"I was about 5m in front then suddenly heard her screaming 'help me' before I saw her grabbing her left leg out of the ocean," the 25-year-old said.

"Blood was pouring out and the water was deep red."

Ms Phillips said the crew's film series was a passion project to raise awareness about conservation and "how amazing it is out there".

"We don't want to put people off from visiting.

Anika Craney
Anika Craney

"One of the first things Anika said even though she was panicking was that she still loves sharks.

"That's something we all resonated with and we hope people still come to visit."

She said that while she did not see the immediate incident, Ms Craney was adamant it was a shark.

"After she left via the helicopter, we were a bit traumatised, but we don't want a freak accident to ever affect Fitzroy Island or Queensland tourism," Ms Phillips said.

Ms Craney was still undergoing surgery when her family arrived in Cairns on Wednesday to be by her bedside.

Prominent marine scientist and presenter Dr Vanessa Pirotta, who is friends with Ms Craney, passed on her well wishes.

"These people have spent the last three months swimming with sharks every day and this is just an unlikely interaction," she said.

"Sending well wishes to Anika. "

Originally published as Shark bite victim urges tourists to keep coming to Fitzroy Island