Brave nurses praised after woman allegedly stabbed
A YOUNG Chilean backpacker was potentially millimetres from death after she was allegedly stabbed by a man in the kitchen of a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Police have praised the brave efforts of two nurses who were fellow guests at Geckos Backpackers on Bunda St in Parramatta Park who rushed to the aid of the 26-year-old woman after she was allegedly stabbed in the arm and neck with a large carving knife.
A 36-year-old Cairns man is in custody.
It is alleged the man, who was not known to the woman, entered the communal kitchen area of the hostel about 11.40am today and repeatedly punched the woman before stabbing her.
She ran from the scene across the street with the nurses following her and providing first aid before emergency services arrived.
Cairns police Det Sgt Brad McLeish said the woman's injuries were significant and was millimetres from potentially being fatal.
"These two NSW nurses, who were up here on holiday, saw the victim running from the scene and gave first aid despite the risk to themselves with the alleged offender still in the vicinity," he said.
"The woman is lucky to be alive."
The Cairns Post understands the woman had only been in Australia for 10 days.
She was treated by paramedics at the scene and transported to Cairns Hospital where she remains in a stable condition.
It is alleged she was in the kitchen with her best friend who witnessed the alleged attack and also had to be treated in hospital for shock.
A third person was also in the kitchen at the time and saw the alleged incident unfold.
The man allegedly fled the scene and was pursued by police through the Cairns Showgrounds before being arrested in Quigley St a short time after the incident.
Det Sgt McLeish said officers were assisted by multiple witnesses during the chase and praised the community for their assistance.
Police allegedly seized a knife nearby.
Geckos manager Peter Hoare said it had been a shocking incident.
"You can imagine what it's like today - we're trying to keep people calm and check them in," he said.