Authorities are in disbelief that a man “wrestled free” of a freshwater crocodile after being attacked in north-west Queensland on Sunday.
The man was swimming at a popular spot in Lawn Hill (located on Queensland’s border with the Northern Territory) when the crocodile fastened on to his arm, according to emergency services.
The man fought back, engaging in a “wrestle” with the reptile before it eventually released its grip.
He suffered non-life-threatening wounds to his arm, both hands and one of his legs, whereupon he was transported by tourists to a nearby airstrip.
Emergency services attended the scene just after 2pm, where the man was treated before being airlifted to Mount Isa Hospital.
The man is in a stable condition, but “lucky to be alive”.
“He was in a lot of pain and the puncture wounds from the croc’s teeth were very deep,” RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Officer Greig Allan said.
“The patient told us the crocodile would have been between two and three metres long, so he’s lucky to have escaped with his life.”
Queensland Ambulance Service north-west district superintendent Brad Hardy believed that GPS technology and swift action from the tourists prevented the man’s condition from deteriorating any further.
CROC ATTACK 🚁 A man has wrestled himself free from the jaws of a freshwater crocodile, in North West Queensland. He suffered injuries to his hands, arms and leg during the ordeal, and was flown to Mount Isa Hospital. More here: https://t.co/pdh3eZYD7D pic.twitter.com/sMRkNUGaIe
— LifeFlight (@LifeFlight_Aus) May 15, 2022
“The other people that were there did a really good job, they had bandaged the wounds to stop the bleeding,” he said.
“It appears that they were swimming around a waterfall, and he went behind the waterfall and there was a freshwater crocodile there.”
Lawn Hill’s Boodjamulla National Park is very popular with tourists, listing “spectacular gorges, sandstone ranges and fossils” as main attractions.
The gorge is filled with freshwater from the neighbouring limestone plateau.
The former owner of the tourist spot, Michelle Lomo, said that there were big differences between freshwater and saltwater crocodiles.
“Often, during wet season, the crocs have the waterways to themselves, and they go behind waterfalls to catch the fish,” she said.
“What happens is, if people arrive at a certain location where the croc is behind the waterfall, they get stuck behind there because they don’t want to come out.
“Make a lot of noise [when you arrive] … that will scare them away.”
No human fatalities are known to have been caused by the species.