The British tourist who dared a teenager to leap into crocodile infested waters has recalled the sickening moment he was attacked.
After a few drinks on the town, Lee de Paauw came good on his claim that he would jump into the Johnstone River at Innisfail in Far North Queensland before he found himself in a frenzied fight for life with what was thought to be a three-to-four metre crocodile.
Staying at the same hostel as Mr de Paauw, UK backpacker Sophie Paterson said there was “blood everywhere” as they watched the teenager furiously try to free his arm from the clutches of the saltwater predator.
“He was talking about the local creek saying ‘I can swim out’ and so we said, ‘go on then’, but we didn’t think he would do it,” she told News Corp.
“It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming.
“There was blood everywhere and he just wouldn’t stop screaming.”
As he pulled himself to safety, the 24-year-old yelled at her friends to call an ambulance before paramedics rushed the teen to hospital.
“I thought he had lost his arm because of how bad it looked,” she added.
“I know he’s a local and probably knew the area better but I can’t help but feel for him.”
Mr Lee de Paauw is now in a stable condition, recovering in hospital.
Queensland paramedic Neil Noble said it was fortunate Mr de Paauw was able to escape the reptile's grip before he drowned in a "death roll".
"Reports from the scene are he was dared to jump into the water, which he did and unfortunately that area is well known for its crocodile population," Mr Noble said.
"We're just very grateful that he's survived this incident because it could have turned out to be quite fatal."
“(His arm) has been really badly injured and hopefully surgeons can help him and restore the use of his arm,” Mr Noble said, downplaying claims that his arm would be amputated.
Brenton Gangemi, owner of local wildlife cruises Snapping Tours, said he believed the culprit croc was a three and a half to four metre male saltwater crocodile that had been frequenting the area recently.
Meanwhile authorities fear another Cairns man who went spearfishing alone in far north Queensland may have been taken by a shark or a crocodile after his dinghy was found anchored off Palmer Point on Saturday.
Today's top news stories - March 20