Wild detail in boat photo after fisherman's 'frightening' croc encounter

A fisherman's rather unusual story has prompted an official investigation by Queensland's Department of Environment.

Tourists taking to the water in Queensland are urged to be “extremely vigilant” after a fisherman claimed a crocodile leapt out of the water and into his tinnie.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) confirmed on Tuesday it is investigating the strange report which is believed to have occurred on New Year’s Eve at Jane Creek, north of Mackay.

After making contact with the fisherman yesterday, wildlife officers described the local man’s ordeal as a “frightening incident”.

An image provided by DES shows a large mark allegedly left by the crocodile after it jumped onto the tinnie.

Left - the tinnie with a dog underneath it. Right - a close up of the tinnie.
Photographs taken of the tinnie after the alleged incident show a mark reportedly left by the crocodile. Source: DES

What did the fisherman tell wildlife officers about the crocodile?

Senior wildlife officer Jane Burns said the man had been fishing for hours when he saw the large reptile approach his boat.

“The crocodile swum under the tinnie, then turned and launched itself up and into the vessel with its jaws wide open,” he said. “The man then jumped [over] the crocodile to get to the bow of the tinnie and retrieve the anchor, and the crocodile pivoted, over-balanced and fell into the water, bending the rails of the tinnie.

“The fisherman went to the boat ramp at Black Rock Creek. He told us he had never seen such a large crocodile behaving that way in the region before.”

St Helens boat ramp. Rocks on the ground. A grey sky.
Wildlife officers headed to St Helens beach in search of the crocodile. Source: DES

Authorities investigating crocodile incident

As its wildlife officers prepared to conduct a daytime assessment of Jane Creek and St Helens Beach, DES provided several images of the still waters where the crocodile had been seen. Although sightings of crocodiles are not uncommon in the area, there have been several reports of them in unusual places after storms hit the eastern states over Christmas.

“If a crocodile is in the vicinity, we will assess its behaviour and the risks posed to public safety, and if it is assessed as a problem crocodile, it will be targeted for removal from the wild,” Ms Burns said.

“People who are using Jane Creek or St Helens Beach should be extremely vigilant, because the Mackay region is Croc Country, and people should avoid complacency around waterways.

“Crocodiles are highly mobile and can be found in any river, creek or ocean beach in Croc Country.”

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