A man has miraculously survived after he was savagely attacked by a crocodile in far north Queensland.
The 44-year-old was swimming in Lake Placid in the Cairns suburb of Caravonica about 12.45pm on Thursday when he felt the crocodile’s jaws clamp down on his scalp.
Queensland Ambulance Service critical care paramedic Paul Sweeney described the frantic scenes as the man tried to fight the crocodile off.
“He was in the water doing some training ... and he felt this sudden impact clasp on the top of his head, which he recognised to be a crocodile,” he said.
“He put his hands into the jaws to prise them off and when he did so and let go, [the jaws] snapped shut onto his left forefinger.”
Mr Sweeney said the man suffered puncture wounds on his scalp that corresponded with the animal biting the top of his head.
He suffered only a puncture wound to his finger and there was minimal blood loss.
Mr Sweeney added the victim was a fit individual who started to slowly swim back to the bank and drag himself out of the water following the attack.
“He was obviously concerned making that swim that the animal would come up and attack him again, but thankfully it didn’t,” the paramedic said.
“He was able to then leave the lake and was able to get help then.”
Mr Sweeney added the man was incredibly lucky as the attack could have been fatal if the crocodile bit him on the neck or throat where the major blood vessels are.
“Your skull is pretty hard and there were no breaks or fractures or punctures to the skull. This was merely a scalp injury and to the side of his cheekbone, shoulder and finger.
“He was a very lucky man because it could have been significantly worse.”
The man was taken to Cairns Hospital in a stable condition and will require stitches. Mr Sweeney said he was expected to make a full recovery.
“He’s quite a robust individual who insisted that he be back swimming there so [he’s] a braver man than I,” Mr Sweeney said.
Warnings over crocodiles in Lake Placid area
Lake Placid, a deep pool off the Barron River, is a popular park and barbecue area that has had recurring problems with resident crocodiles.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife officers only two weeks ago announced they would try to catch and remove a two-metre long reptile seen lurking there.
Department of Environment and Science officials said the crocodile was seen swimming but went underwater when approached by people.
Wildlife officers placed an extra "recent crocodile sighting" warning sign at a viewing platform on the edge of the lake at the time.
There had already been a crocodile sighting warning sign there due an earlier sighting.
Wildlife officers are investigating Thursday's attack, which is the first since a man was bitten while on an afternoon snorkel at Lizard Island on September 23.
The man was bitten on the head and neck but survived after being flown to Cairns Hospital and treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
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