'Someone is going to die': Shock over tourists' 'insane' act at Cahills Crossing

·3-min read

Alarming tourist behaviour at a famed crocodile-infested crossing has sparked fears that someone will get hurt – or even die.

Photos taken at Cahills Crossing in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory were snapped by ABC Radio Hobart presenter Leon Compton, who expressed concerns about the way crowds of people were gathering on the water's edge.

"A tourist is going to die at Cahills Crossing given the behaviour I saw yesterday at the crossing — it is only a matter of time," he told the ABC.

Mr Compton is in the Northern Territory on a family holiday and said there is usually an area where people can safely stand on the bank to view the crocs but it is currently being fixed.

Tourists were seen getting very close to the croc-infested water at Cahills Crossing in the Northern Territory. Source: Leo Compton via ABC
Tourists were seen getting very close to the croc-infested water at Cahills Crossing in the Northern Territory. Source: Leo Compton via ABC

It appears Mr Compton was taking the video from higher ground, while a crowd of tourists stand casually on the bank.

Just metres away in the murky water, at least one crocodile can be seen on the surface.

While the photo depicts just over a dozen people on the bank, Mr Compton said he watched between 100 and 200 tourists approach the water's edge, some dipping their toes in the water.

"It was absolute insanity," he said.

Tourists condemned over getting too close to the water

Kakadu National Park condemned the tourist's behaviour on Facebook.

"We are disappointed with the behaviour of some visitors at Cahills Crossing who have ignored safety signage and walked dangerously close to the water, risking the chance of being attacked by a crocodile," a post made on Friday evening said.

Cahills Crossing is known as a popular crocodile hangout. Source: Kakadu National Park/Facebook
Cahills Crossing is known as a popular crocodile hangout. Source: Kakadu National Park/Facebook

"Saltwater crocodiles are dangerous animals and have attacked and killed people at Cahills Crossing. It is not safe to stand at the water's edge.

"Safety around waterways should be the highest priority when visiting Kakadu and visitors should never be complacent around crocodiles."

The park confirmed the viewing platform and adjacent walking tracks are closed due to construction work and a new viewing platform is due to open later this year.

Saltwater crocodiles are the world's largest reptiles and described by Kakadu National Park as "Kakadu’s fiercest predators".

The crocodiles hang around Cahills Crossing so they can feast on the fish the tide pushes in.

"Saltwater crocodiles have a high cultural significance. They are an integral part of daily and cultural life," Kakadu National Park says on its website on a page regarding Cahills Crossing.

"Please respect the wishes of traditional owners, stay away from the water’s edge, do not cross the causeway on foot, and observe these apex predators from the safety of the viewing platform."

Visitors killed by crocs at Cahills Crossing

In 2017, a 47-year-old man was killed by a crocodile while trying to cross the river on foot.

The most notorious death at the site was in 1987, when a fisherman was attacked and decapitated by a croc while wading in the water.

Tourists have been previous made headlines for engaging in risky behaviour around Cahills Crossing.

One woman was snapped sitting in the croc-infested water in 2019 and the image went viral. She later told Yahoo News Australia the dangers were not apparent to her at the time, despite the signs.

“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.”

Just a year before, a man was seen fishing at the crossing, just metres away from a crocodile.

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