Once bitten on the Barrier Reef

It’s International Volunteer Week, which makes the timing terrible for James Cook U in the matter of Mathew Vickers and a shark. Mr Vickers was volunteering with JCU researchers on the Great Barrier Reef when a shark bit, as in made a meal of, his left arm. This was serious stuff and Mr Vickers is raising money because after surgeries and 12-weeks rehabilitation he still can’t work. Nor, he says, has JCU been much help, with the insurer it uses to cover volunteers paying him $555. The university responds that because he was not an employee he has no access to its work cover. What’s more, “at the time of the incident, some of the field trip participants were taking part in snorkelling, which was not part of the planned field trip.” JCU adds that it has offered Mr Vickers “trauma counselling.”  For the bite or the mess that it has left him in?


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