Doctor, 33, Killed in Great Barrier Reef Shark Attack

Marcia Frellick

November 08, 2018

Daniel Christidis, MD, PhD, aged 33, a surgical registrar and soon-to-be urology trainee from Melbourne, Australia, was killed by a shark in Australia's Great Barrier Reef on Monday, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The AP reported that Police Inspector Steve O'Connell said Christidis was with 10 friends — most of whom were medical professionals — who rented a yacht and left from Queensland's mainland Monday morning to sail on a 5-day cruise through the Whitsunday Islands.

Dr Daniel Christidis Twitter

According to the AP, O'Connell said, "The victim was taking turns with a woman standing on a paddle board or swimming in the harbor late Monday afternoon. He had dived into the water to give the woman her turn on the board when he was attacked."

Tourists on nearby yachts in Cid Harbour reportedly pulled Christidis from the water and took him to his yacht — many of the passengers there had medical backgrounds, and two were physicians — but his injuries were too severe, and he went into cardiac arrest. He was taken by helicopter to Mackay Base Hospital, 60 miles away, where he died, according to the AP.

In an Instagram post, Christidis' brother Michael wrote, "Words cannot describe what we are all feeling right now. If you knew my brother, you know just how much the world is at loss right now. Daniel was all about getting everything meticulously right in life — to live deeply & fully, which he did. His devotion to his role as a surgeon & his deep sense of empathy saw him well respected by colleagues and patients alike. He would illuminate any room he entered with his charm & wit (both of which I often tried to compete with, but to no avail). I've lost a brother, best friend & mentor, but I will not lose the spark Dan provided me each and every day, inspiring & driving me to be a better person."

Christidis, who had recently completed a PhD at Austin Health in Melbourne, had worked at Western Health since February. Western Health's director of surgery and head of the unit in urology, Helen O'Connell, said in an interview in the Australian that he was "constantly enthusiastic and positive, almost no matter what the circumstance. He would go the extra mile. I remember one of our patients was quite down postoperatively. It was her birthday and he went and got a birthday cake. That's the sort of guy Daniel is...was."

She said he was "sort of like glue," bringing people together with "unstoppable optimism."

"I imagine it will be amazingly difficult for the family to do without him," she said.

Monday's tragedy was the third shark attack in the area in 6 weeks; the first two victims survived.

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