‘Grubby’ scammers surface after shark attack
Friends and family of shark attack victim Rick Bettua have been left disgusted after a number of scam fund-raising pages were set up.
Scammers impersonated Rick's family, appealing to friend's and the general public to donate online.
However Rick's wife Angela said they had not created a fund-raiser page and had not authorised anyone else to create one on the family's behalf.
Rick's friend Ryan Moody said scammers benefiting off one's tragedy was a "very grubby act".
The well-known North Queensland fishing identity has known Rick for more than seven years and had been in contact with his family who informed him of the fake fund-raisers.
"They said we don't have any fund-raisers, these are all just scams," Mr Moody said.
"One came from Rick's brother, or an alias of Rick's brother."
Mr Moody called the scammer out, only to receive a message saying they had approval from Angela.
"Please report them if you see them," Angela posted on social media. My heartfelt thanks to you all."
The fund-raising pages on website getfunding.com appear to have been removed.
Rick was attacked by a bull shark while spearfishing at Britomart Reef on October 26.
The former US Navy diver suffered critical injuries when he was bitten on the upper thigh.
By the time the Mr Bettua arrived at Dungeness boat ramp in Lucinda, where emergency services were waiting, he did not have a pulse.
Angela, through posts on social media, said her husband underwent surgery earlier this week and it went "very well".
In a post today, Angela said that after an extremely painful bandage change on Rick's leg, "we are happy to report that the wound looked good."
She said the surgeons and support staff were pleased with the skin grafts.
"Rick still has a long journey ahead but we're confident that with your continued support, thoughts and prayers we will get through it."
"Can't thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart."
Rick remains in Townsville University Hospital in a stable condition.
The day after the attack, Angela detailed the "harrowing" and "traumatic" experience.
"The one thing I can truly take away from this experience aside from the validation on what a badass fighter and tenacious mofo he is, would be the outpouring of love, support, well-wishes and most importantly the prayers, good vibrations and healing energy that was just showered upon him, and all of us," she posted.
"I can report that aside from overcoming other complications due to this attack, and several hours in surgery, his nerves are intact and has a very encouraging prognosis for his leg! In saying that, we are still not out of the woods."
Originally published as 'Grubby' scammers surface after shark attack