An Australian was only slightly injured in the head and hand in a crocodile attack. (Symbolic image) © IMAGO/Ron Chapple Stock
He was "just in the wrong place at the wrong time," says the Australian, whose head was stuck in the jaw of a crocodile. The animal bit from behind.
Canberra – A man from the Australian state of Queensland survived an attack by a crocodile last Saturday (May 27). 51-year-old Marcus McGowan was snorkeling with his wife and friends near the exclusive Haggerstone Island Resort, 40 kilometers off the north coast of Australia, when the saltwater crocodile attacked him from behind.
"I thought it was a shark, but when I reached up, I realized it was a crocodile. I was able to pry open his mouth just wide enough to pull my head out," he said in a statement. The crocodile, which was probably a cub, came back and attacked the man again. "I managed to push it away with my right hand, which then bit it," McGowan reports. He was then able to swim to the safety of the boat, which had heard the group's cries for help.
Australia: Crocodile attacks man while snorkeling
Crocodiles are widespread in the tropical north of Australia. Recently, there have been a number of attacks there. Commenting on McGowan's crocodile encounter, Queensland's Department of Environment said it would investigate the incident, but added: "Crocodiles in the open sea can be difficult to locate as the animals often travel tens of kilometres a day".
The wounded McGowan was taken by boat to Haggerstone Island, 45 minutes away, before being flown by helicopter to the hospital on Thursday Island. He was later transferred to a hospital in Cairns, where he was treated for lacerations on his scalp and punctures of crocodile teeth on his head and hand.
Crocodile attack in Australia: "In the wrong place at the wrong time" – but done the right thing
"When you enter the marine environment, you enter an area that belongs to potentially dangerous animals such as sharks and crocodiles," the Australian later said of the attack. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time." Apparently, he behaved exactly right in his predicament.
Commenting on the incident, Billy Collett, Operations Manager of Australia Reptile Park, said: "Crocodiles are the most biting animals in the world. But when people fight back, they seem to let go." McGowan probably scared the crocodile, who realized that it had grabbed something too big with him.
Accidents in Australia: Crocodile attacks are on the rise
"It is important that crocodile sightings and crocodile incidents are reported in a timely manner," said an official Queensland statement. "The area around Haggerstone Island is known as a crocodile area," the agency added, urging visitors to behave accordingly. People in smaller boats, such as canoes and kayaks, are at greater risk of being attacked, as are people standing close to shore or wading through while fishing, the agency said.
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Saturday's incident followed other crocodile attacks in the region this year, as reported by The Guardian. In April, a 65-year-old man was bitten in the foot while sleeping on Newell beach. A man in his 40s suffered serious injuries to his stomach, leg and head while fishing at Archer Point, while a 65-year-old was killed while fishing in Lakefield National Park in Cape York. His remains were found in two crocodiles. (na)