60-Year-Old Australian Uses Pocket Knife To Fight Off Crocodile

Australian authorities reported Wednesday that a 60-year-old fisherman used a pocket knife to fight a crocodile that tried to drag him underwater.

The man was reported fishing near his home in the McIvor River, located near Hope Vale, Cape York in Queensland, Australia, when the reptile attacked him. According to the Department of Environment and Science (DES), he approached the river’s bank and tried to shoo a bull away so he could fish at the site.

“He described seeing the crocodile seconds before it lunged at him, knocking him over as he was about to cast his fishing rod. The animal then grabbed him by both feet and attempted to drag him into the water,” the department said in a statement.

The man grabbed a nearby mangrove tree’s branch to prevent the crocodile from throwing him into the water, but the reptile was too strong. However, he managed to retrieve a knife from his belt and stabbed the animal in its head until he was released.

The DES said the man had escaped after scrambling up the bank and quickly made his way to Cooktown hospital for treatment. He was then airlifted by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Cairns Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

Later that day, Cairns Hospital confirmed that the man was in a stable condition and recovering after being bitten on his leg.

Wildlife officials interviewed him earlier this week and confirmed his injuries were consistent with those from a crocodile attack. “It’s an absolutely harrowing experience. He won’t forget that in a long time,” they said.

Experts think the reptile may have been attracted to the riverbank by the bull. A DES spokesman said wildlife officials were investigating the crocodile attack but clarified that the department would not take the animal out of the wild “due to the circumstances, including the remote location of the property and that there is no public access in the vicinity.”

The incident came a few months after Andrew Heard, a 69-year-old fisherman, went missing in Gayundah Creek in Queensland. His remains were found inside a four-meter crocodile.

In Australia, the number of saltwater crocodiles has skyrocketed after they were declared protected species. While attacks have increased in recent years, deaths remain relatively rare.

Authorities have warned locals and visitors to stay away from waterways inhabited by such reptiles.