A swimmer has survived an attack by a fearsome saltwater crocodile in northern Australia by prising open the animal’s jaws clamped around his head with his bare hands.
Health officials said the unidentified 44-year-old told medics he was swimming in Lake Placid in Queensland when he was attacked by a “saltie” that he described as being 1.5m to 2m long.
He was taken to hospital in Cairns with multiple lacerations to his head and shoulders. Officials said he was very lucky to escape without more serious injuries, reports news.com.au.
Critical care paramedic Paul Sweeney said the man was “remarkably calm” when they arrived at the scene on Thursday.
“He told us a crocodile had bitten his head and he put his hands inside to try and prise the jaws apart,” Sweeney told reporters. “It was clear from our assessment of him that the crocodile had clearly wrapped his jaws around the man’s head.”
The first responder said that following the attack the man swam a considerable distance back to shore to get help while living in fear that he would be attacked again.
Sweeney said the man told him he had been swimming in the lake for exercise three times a week for about eight years.
Queensland Environment Department said, “We are reminding people that Lake Placid and the Cairns region are known Croc Country and urge people in the area to always be crocwise.”
The department said people should expect crocodiles in all far northern Queensland waterways, and urged them to avoid using canoes and kayaks and stand back from the water’s edge when fishing.
Saltwater crocodiles, or “salties” as Aussies call them, are the largest of all crocodiles and are opportunistic predators who can stay submerged for over an hour waiting for prey.
They will eat anything they can get their jaws around, including water buffalo, monkeys, wild boar, and even sharks.
And of course, if one swims by, a mouth-wateringly delicious un-crocwise human.