Qld man stabs croc's head to escape attack

·3-min read

A Queensland man has cheated death in escaping the jaws of a large crocodile by stabbing it in the head with a pocket knife.

The 60-year-old man was attacked by a 4-4.5m crocodile while fishing from the banks of a remote part of the McIvor River, near Hope Vale, last Wednesday.

After it pulled him into the water, he pulled out his pocket knife stabbed it's head repeatedly until it suddenly released him and he was able to scramble to safety.

Department of Environment and Science expert Matt Brien says it's a "miracle, absolutely" that the man survived.

"He fortunately escaped the grip of a four to four and a half metre crocodile," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"The odds of doing that are about zero. So it's unusual that he's still here, but we're grateful that he is."

Dr Brein said a study of previous attacks found that lone humans have zero chance of survival when attacked by crocodile more than 4m long.

Humans had only survived previous large crocodiles attacks when they had been with other people.

"And then they hold on to them, and you're able to pull them out when the crocodile tries to get a better grip," Dr Brein said.

"So the fact that he's alive is significant, it's quite amazing, it's almost unheard of. So he's he's done extremely well to get out with his life."

The man's ordeal began when he saw a bull standing on part of the bank he wanted to fish from so he shooed it away.

As he prepared to cast his line, a crocodile lunged out of the water and knocked him over.

The reptile then clamped its jaws around his boots and started dragging him down the muddy bank into the river.

The man grabbed a mangrove tree branch held on as the animal continued to pull him.

Eventually he lost strength and let go, with the crocodile pulling him into the river.

The man used his pocket knife to stab the crocodile in its head repeatedly as he went into the water.

The reptile suddenly let go and the man scrambled back up the slippery bank to safety.

"It's the stuff of nightmares to be grabbed by an animal like that, pulled into the water, it's an absolutely harrowing experience," Dr Brein said.

"He won't forget that in a long time."

The man drove himself to Cooktown Hospital and from there he was flown to Cairns.

He's recovering from his physical injuries, mainly to his feet, and psychological trauma.

Dr Brein said it appeared as if the crocodile had been initially hunting the bull before the man shooed it away and took its place as the animal's prey.

"He's been very lucky to get away, but perhaps unlucky in some ways that he was attacked in the first place, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

The department said due to the remote location and lack of public access, they wouldn't attempt to catch or relocate the crocodile involved.

"We have no reason to remove that animal at this stage," Dr Brein said.

"However, if that changes and we're receiving information to suggest there are animals of causing issues in that area will reassess the situation."

He said north Queenslanders should always assume there were crocodiles in the water in coastal areas.

Dr Brein said they should also keep their distance from the water and put something between them and the water if they were getting in and out of boats.

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