The off-duty paramedics who saved two British backpackers after they were mauled by a shark while snorkelling in Australia have vowed to have a beer with the pair.
Billy Ludvigsson, 32, and Emma Andersson, 33, both from Sweden, sprung into action when two men on their boat trip suffered serious injuries in the Whitsunday Islands, near the Great Barrier Reef, on Tuesday.
Alistair Raddon, 28, from Southampton, had his right foot bitten off and his friend Danny Maggs, 22, suffered a deep wound to his calf.
Mr Ludvigsson and Ms Andersson have been hailed as heroes for stemming Mr Raddon’s bleeding by creating makeshift tourniquet out of ropes and towels.
Danny Maggs, 22, from Plymouth, has been pictured smiling and giving a ‘hang loose’ hand gesture to the camera as he was loaded into a helicopter after being bitten by a shark
Mr Maggs was swimming alongside friend Alistair Raddon near the Whitsunday Islands when the attack took place
‘I think we might have actually saved his life, he was bleeding so badly, it was a long boat ride back to shore, if he had continued to bleed that much all the way to shore I’m not sure if he would’ve made it,’ Mr Ludvigsson told reporters.
The couple, who live together in Sweden, were getting back on the boat when they heard the ear-piercing screams.
‘Then we heard something about sharks, but then we heard more screaming,’ Ms Andersson said.
‘We hurried up the ladder, it took some time until the injured person got up on the boat, we saw he was badly injured that he was missing a foot so we started to tend to his injuries.’
While the pair admitted they have seen worse injuries in their line of work, the circumstances made it particularly shocking.
They said it took a few seconds to mentally prepare to help.
They said the British pair were in ‘good spirits’ despite their injuries and were cracking jokes during the boat ride back to shore.
Both Mr Ludvigsson and Ms Andersson said they would love to catch up with the men at some stage.
Billy Ludvigsson, 32, (right) and Emma Andersson, 33, (left) both from Sweden, launched into action when two men on their boat trip suffered serious injuries in the Whitsunday Islands, near the Great Barrier Reef, on Tuesday
Mr Raddon (pictured) had his right foot bitten off during the attack, which happened when he was play-fighting in the water with Mr Maggs
The attack happened at 10.17am during a snorkelling trip. Mr Maggs (pictured) and Mr Raddon were rushed back to shore on a tour boat before being taken to hospital by helicopter
‘It would be cool to have a beer with them,’ Mr Ludvigsson said.
‘We really like them,’ Ms Andersson said.
Mr Raddon and Mr Maggs were out of surgery on Wednesday and released a statement thanking their rescuers for their help.
‘We would like to sincerely thank everyone involved in our care, from the people on the boat to the ambulance, CQ Rescue helicopter and Mackay Base Hospital.
‘Everyone dealt with our situation well and remained calm and we are very grateful for your help.
‘Thanks also to friends and family back home for your messages of love and support. We are very grateful to everyone supporting us wherever you are.’
Keith Maggs, Danny’s father, said his son spent four hours on the operating table to make initial repairs, before going back under the knife a second time.
Mr Maggs said his son, a plumber, called him between the operations and described his ordeal as ‘terrifying’ and said he was glad his injuries were not worse.
Danny’s grandfather, Terry, told Mail Online: ‘He could have been killed. We’re all feeling relieved that it wasn’t any worse.
‘Danny qualified as a plumber in Plymouth and then he went travelling. He has been away from home for more than a year now and working along the way.’
The attack happened at 10.17am while the pair were swimming in the ocean off Hook Island, part of Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands, which is a popular spot for tourists.
Both men were taking part in a snorkelling boat tour when the attack happened, with medics saying they were playing and thrashing in the water at the time.
Mr Maggs suffered severe lacerations to his right calf during the attack, which happened while he was playing and ‘thrashing’ in the ocean with friend Alistair Raddon
Mr Raddon had his right foot ‘amputated’ when he was attacked by a shark while snorkelling near the Great Barrier Reef in eastern Australia
Grant Bollington, who was part of the helicopter crew which flew the pair to hospital, told the Queensland Times: ‘[Alistair] said they were wrestling in the water.
‘He thought his mate grabbed him really hard by the leg and turned around and saw blood in the water.’
Danny’s mother Rachel , who is on holiday in Malta, said : ‘We’re in shock and we’re thousands of miles away so can’t do much at the moment.
‘We are hoping for the best.
‘It sounds as though the young man with Danny has come off worst but we don’t know the full extent of Danny’s injuries yet. We are hoping both of them will be ok.’
It appears from social media posts that Alistair has been travelling since 2017, when he began uploading photos from Vietnam to his Instagram profile.
From there he went to Cambodia and Laos, then on to Thailand before entering Malaysia around the start of 2018.
Alistair uploaded this photo of himself swimming on the Great Barrier Reef four days before he was attacked by the shark
Danny Maggs has been travelling since at least 2017, according to social media posts which show he visited Vietnam and Bali before making his way to Australia
Alistair Raddon has also been travelling since 2017, and also visited Vietnam before coming to Australia the following year
The pair had been taking part in a ZigZag day tour departing from Airlie Beach, in Queesland, when they were attacked
He then went to Singapore in February that year before returning to the UK for a short time and travelling around Ireland and mainland Europe.
In January this year he flew to Australia, where it appears he has remained ever since.
It appears Danny Maggs also began travelling in south east Asia in 2017, when he uploaded a series of photos from Vietnam.
By March the following year he had made his way to Bali, before ending up in Australia around eight months later.
It does not appear that the two men had been travelling extensively together, despite sharing similar itineraries, though they are listed as ‘friends’ on Facebook.
A photo posted to Mr Raddon’s Instagram profile on Monday shows the pair together on Magnetic Island, around 150 miles up the coast from where the attack took place.
It is not clear for how long they knew each other before the fateful trip to the Whitsundays.
Pictured is the view from inside the helicopter cockpit as it comes it to land at Mackay Base Hospital, where the pair are in serious but stable condition
Recent shark attacks in the Whitsundays
September 19, 2018: Justine Barwick, 46, miraculously survived a horrific shark bite while swimming off a charter yacht in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.
A passing yacht found the Tasmanian woman with life-threatening bites to her right thigh, and helped her out of the water.
Justine Barwick, 46, survived a horrific shark bite while swimming off a charter yacht in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays in September last year
September 20, 2018: Hannah Papps, 12, from Melbourne, lost her leg after being bitten by a shark near at Cid Harbour on the Whitsundays.
The young girl’s upper thigh had a large piece of flesh torn off by the shark at popular tourist spot Cid Harbour.
Hannah was airlifted to the Mackay Base Hospital from the beach by CQ CareFlight paramedics.
Hannah Papps, 12, lost her leg after being bitten by shark near at Cid Harbour on the Whitsundays just one day after Ms Barwick in the same area (pictured with Paralympic swimmer Ellie Cole)
November 7, 2018: Daniel Christidis, 33, was mauled to death by a shark at Cid Harbour at Whitsunday Island.
The up and coming doctor was taking part in a five-day sailing holiday around the Whitsunday islands when he was attacked about 5.30pm.
During the attack, the 33-year-old was bitten in the left thigh, right calf and left wrist, the latter of which was reportedly injured while fending off the predator.
There were more than a dozen yachts in the harbour at the time and some tourists managed to rescue Mr Christidis with their dinghy.
They brought him back to his own yacht, where most of the group had medical backgrounds, including two doctors, but they were unable to help him.
Daniel Christidis, 33, was mauled to death by a shark at Cid Harbour at Whitsunday Island