Tourist opens up on 'idiotic' act at notorious croc crossing

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A young tourist has spoken out over a photo that emerged of her sitting in croc-infested waters at a notorious crossing in the Northern Territory.

Lauren French, 25, from Coffs Harbour in NSW, was branded “an idiot” for nonchalantly sitting on Cahills Crossing in the Kakadu National Park on May 11.

Remote area nurse Charlotte Nansen shared an image to Instagram of Ms French sat on the crossing in a bikini with a drink in hand.

An area known to have one of the densest crocodile populations in Australia which has seen several fatal incidents, Ms Nansen warned others over Ms French’s actions.

“In case it’s not completely obvious, please for the love of god do not do this!” she wrote, adding such behaviour was that of “idiot tourists”.

The image made the front page of The Northern Territory News on Tuesday with the headline ‘Bikini croc madness’.

While the area is heavily sign posted warning visitors of the dangers present, Ms French told Yahoo News Australia that the large crocodile population wasn’t immediately apparent to her.

Lauren French was pictured sitting down on Cahills Crossing, partially submerged by the river. Source: Lauren French
A man pictured fishing near two crocodiles at the crossing in 2018. Source: Supplied/ Kaff Eine Paints

“Everyone keeps saying ‘didn’t you see the signs?’ Yes [I did] but everywhere has signs up here,” she said.

“I’m surprised people’s pools don’t have caution signs.”

She revealed she and her friends also went fishing in the area, sharing an image with Yahoo News Australia of herself ankle deep in the river.

Ms French, who is travelling the country indefinitely, said in hindsight she now realises how costly her actions could have been.

“It was very dangerous and I didn’t realise the dense population of crocs at that particular spot until after we left and looked up Cahills Crossing,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“I was shocked when friends said they had seen eight or more crocs there at a time.”

Ms French fishing near the crossing. Source: Lauren French/ Supplied
Ms French (left) with two friends near the crossing. Source: Lauren French/ Supplied

Ms French admitted she was fortunate to have survived her dip in the East Alligator River.

“It was very dangerous but I’m alive so that’s lucky.”

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Parks Australia, who are aware of the incident, for comment.

Kakadu National Park’s website warns visitors to the area that encounters with crocodiles in the area can prove fatal.

“Saltwater crocodiles are dangerous. They have attacked and killed people,” it reads with a number of guidelines they advise visitors to adhere to.

In 2017, a 47-year-old man was killed at the crossing by a crocodile.

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