An Australian teenager who was attacked by a crocodile after jumping into a crocodile-infested river on a dare is recovering from serious arm wounds.
The 18-year-old was at a hostel in northern Queensland early Sunday when he bragged that he could swim in the river, a known habitat for aggressive saltwater crocodiles.
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 meter crocodile.
Staying at the same hostel as 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,” Paterson 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.”
de Paauw is was in a stable condition, recovering in hospital.
Queensland paramedic Neil Noble said it was fortunate 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,” Noble said.