People try to help Damien Olsen.
People try to help Damien Olsen. Contributed

Close call for Yeppoon spearfisherman shot through the chest

SPEARFISHERMAN Damien Olsen is lucky to be alive after being shot through his chest with a spear while in his boat near Great Keppel Island about 3pm on Sunday.

It was a harrowing sight for onlookers as the Yeppoon spearfisherman, 22, was brought to shore with a spear going through one side of his body to the other.

The spear was reported to have shot through his ribs just below his breast and come out below his lower shoulder bone.

Doctors reportedly had to use bolt cutters to remove part of the spear, which came within centimetres of hitting vital organs.

Great Keppel Island Hideaway co-owner Sean Appleton said it was amazing to see the man with such a serious injury and still coherent.

"I was sitting with a visitor to the Hideaway who happened to be an intensive care nurse when we heard the cry for help," Mr Appleton said.

"We alerted the island medic and raced down with the first-aid kit. What we found was not a pretty sight.

"It was obvious there was no way the first aid kit was going to be of any help at all."

Mr Appleton said the spear gun had been sitting in the boat loaded when it was accidentally triggered and shot Mr Olsen through the chest.

"The spear went straight through to his body, we couldn't believe the guy was still talking," he said.

"The visiting nurse administered pain killer and we called triple zero. The helicopter arrived about 40 minutes later and spent another 20 minutes getting him stabilised before taking off."

Mr Olsen was rushed to hospital by the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue.

He was later transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

He had been out for a day of spearfishing with friends.

Police have spoken to Mr Olsen and interviewed all witnesses, but will not be continuing investigations.

Mr Olsen was yesterday afternoon in a stable condition at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

A family member of Mr Olsen declined to comment.

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