A Darwin man has told of the moment he was spurred to rescue three men from waters infested with crocodiles and deadly box jellyfish after seeing their boat burst into flames.
Kurt Williamson, a boatie in the Northern Territory, was readying his runabout on Monday afternoon when he saw a vessel in Ludmilla Creek carrying three men burst into flames.
Mr Williamson told Yahoo7 he went "as close as possible" to the other boat already engulfed in flames to help the three distressed occupants. One of the men got into a life raft while Mr Williamson helped the others.
"I was worried about the boat exploding so I had to keep a bit of distance," he said about the rescue near East Point.
Kurt Williamson came to the rescue of a group of men onboard a burning boat in Darwin. Source: Facebook/ Kurt Williamson
"There was one guy in the engine room trying to fight the fire."
Mr Williamson could only get within 50 metres and told the men to jump into the water so he could get them to the shore. From there he managed to get all three to safety.
"It was pretty scary seeing a boat go up in flames like that," he said.
"The guys were all pretty shaken up and didn't say much."
The boat goes up in flames. Source: Facebook/ Kurt Williamson
Once back on dry land the four of them watched the boat slowly get swallowed by the flames until it was completely destroyed. Mr Williamson, a Darwinian of 20 years, had never seen a boat go up in flames in front of him "to that extent".
He described the scene as "heartbreaking".
One of the rescued men, Shae Denim, told the ABC Mr Williamson was a hero. He said a bit of smoke came out of the boat and it engulfed the vessel in "a matter of minutes".
The boat belonged to Mr Denim's father-in-law and was estimated to be worth about $500,000.
Mr Williamson added that the men on board the burning boat faced being stricken in nearby mangroves due to winds and would have had to contend with crocodiles and box jellyfish.
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"I'm pretty sure there were croc sightings a few days before," Mr Williamson said.
"There's always a croc about around here."
In 2016, a Crocodile Warning sign was erected after one was spotted in the drainage channel, according to a CreekWatch Project Report issued by the Environment Centre NT.
The NT Times reported in 2015 that two fishermen spotted a 3.5-metre crocodile in Ludmilla Creek.
According to the NT government, there have already been 30 saltwater crocodiles captured in 2018 with 370 captured in 2017. It's also "stinger season", with deadly jellyfish around East Point between October 1 to May 31.