A toadfish attacked and injured two tourists at Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia

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The Whitsunday Islands are one of the most famous tourist regions in Queensland, Australia. Beaches at this usually peaceful scenic tourist region are closed as of Thursday when an elderly woman was bitten while wading in shallow waters ad Catseye beach on Hamilton Island. A girl remains in hospital in a stable condition after being attacked in the Whitsunday Islands by what was first believed to be a shark.

After a second look, it wasn’t a shark, but a toadfish that attacked the visitors. Along with related toadfish species, it is known in Australia as a “toadie.” As with other fish of this family, the flesh is poisonous, due to tetrodotoxin, and eating the fish can have fatal consequences. Toadfishes are heavy-bodied fishes with broad, flattened heads and large mouths equipped with strong teeth. They grow to a maximum of about 40 cm (16 inches) and either are scaleless or have small scales. Most can produce audible grunting or croaking sounds.

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“Independent testing has suggested a fish was responsible in this instance, not a shark,” a spokesman for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told AAP News in Australia.

The nine-year-old girl was transferred by boat to Proserpine Hospital for treatment for a bite to her foot.

The woman remained on the island and was treated at a local medical center for a wound on her right leg.

Neither injuries are life-threatening, with Hamilton Island operators saying the animal was believed to be less than a meter long.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.