Survivor used tools to fight off crocs for three hours after watching mate die

A 72-year-old man was forced to fight off angry crocodiles for three hours after watching his friend die when their boat was capsized near Darwin.

The elderly survivor told CareFlight Rescuers the boat was 'deliberately' capsized by a crocodile, and that he was able to climb back into the boat.

The other man died during his struggle to get back on board as the survivor fought off an increasing number of crocs using spanners and spark plugs.

The men, who were from Victoria, had set out on a crabbing trip from Leaders Creek, near Gunn Point, in a small tinny on Tuesday morning.

The CareFlight Rescue Helicopter flew in to Leader Creek after the 72-year-old man was found. Photo: CareFlight

When they tried to bring some crab pots into the boat, the croc struck, capsizing the boat and throwing both men into the water, CareFlight director Ian Badham said.

After the three-hour ordeal, he told rescuers he had pushed the boat into the relative safety of mangroves and was eventually found when three professional crabbers heard his calls.

They retrieved his friend’s body and brought him back to shore.

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The survivor was treated for severe shock by a doctor and nurse who flew in with Careflight’s rescue helicopter.

ABC News reported it was not the first time a crocodile behaving in such a bold an deliberate manner in the Northern Territory.

The 2015 coroner's inquest into Bill Scott's death at Kakadu, found a croc had destabilised the boat, forcing the man to stumble before he was attacked and dragged overboard.