A motorist has driven straight towards a large crocodile in a ballsy act at Australia’s most dangerous water crossing.
The move took place at Cahills Crossing in Kakadu, home of more than 10,000 crocodiles – an estimated 10 per cent of the Northern Territory’s entire croc population.
In video shared by acclaimed Queensland nature photographer Joel Evans, a white Toyota approaches the flooded crossing and slowly powers through the murky water as the crocodile floats in the middle of the river. Its eyes and the ridges of its back and tail are visible above the waterline.
The driver sticks to one side and the crocodile – aware of the vehicle's presence – begins to move away. The water is so deep it covers the ute’s numberplate and front wheel.
While it appears the Toyota made it safely to the other side, cars regularly become stranded in the river – including two occupants in a Mitsubishi Magna who had to be rescued by a nearby tour boat several years ago.
Drivers urged to let crocodiles move before driving through waterways
Kakadu National Park Branch Manager Shaun Barclay told Yahoo News Australia visitors to the park should take care not to harm crocodiles at any time.
"Crocodiles are a protected species so avoid doing harm to crocodiles at all times," he said. "If possible, wait for all crocodiles to be out of your path before proceeding across a creek or river. Drive with extreme caution to ensure your safety and the safety of the crocodile."
Mr Barclay also warned that crossing flooded creeks can be "extremely dangerous" and urged drivers to pay close attention to road signs and road closures.
"Ensure you know the capability of your vehicle and drive to the conditions. Driving in the Top End and Kakadu is a lot different from driving in other areas of Australia so drive to your ability and level of experience in those conditions, and obey all safety directions."
In September, the viewing platform at Cahills Crossing received a $3m upgrade, allowing visitors to safely watch the crocodiles from a vantage point.
Mr Barclay added that Cahills Crossing and the viewing platform are currently closed due to seasonal flooding. Condition reports can be found here.
Fatal crocodile attacks at Cahills Crossing
At least two people have been killed by crocodiles at the crossing, including a man who attempted to walk across the river in 2017. His body was found the following day, with a 3.5m crocodile that police believe may have attacked him. The animal was shot and killed.
In 1987 a fisherman was attacked and decapitated by a crocodile while wading in the water.
Recent tourist behaviour at the crossing has sparked fears another fatality is just around the corner. A photo that made headlines in July shows a group of tourists casually standing on the crossing.
"A tourist is going to die at Cahills Crossing given the behaviour I saw yesterday at the crossing — it is only a matter of time," ABC Radio Hobart host Leon Compton told the public broadcaster at the time.
Those visiting the banks of the crossing are advised to stay at least 10m from the water’s edge – “and a greater distance if the bank is flat and low”.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.