An Australian wildlife tour operator said he was lucky to escape more serious injury or even death when a crocodile lunged from a river and clamped his hand in its jaws.
Sean Dearly was attacked on the Adelaide River, which is known for its “jumping crocodiles” — big crocs that rise from the water to snatch chicken carcasses dangled from long poles extended from tourist cruise boats.
“I’m feeling all right. I’m a bit sore in the arm, of course, but, yeah, I survived it,” Dearly, 60, told Nine Network television of his encounter this past week with a young, seven-foot crocodile.
Dearly had his right hand and forearm in a cast but did not detail his injuries. He had undergone surgery to repair a severed tendon in his hand, the Northern Territory News reported.
Dearly said he told the 18 tourists on his cruise to keep their entire bodies inside the boat at all times for safety.
He then did the opposite to retrieve a pole he’d been using to feed meat to raptors and accidentally dropped overboard.
Dearly said he was about to grab the pole, and “immediately something lunged on to me.”
The crocodile clamped onto his arm as he drew back.
“I’ve lifted a crocodile up, and I’ve gone: ‘My god, what have I got here?’ And I’m thinking: ‘What are we going to do about this? It’s hanging off my arm,’” Dearly said.
He said he hoped the crocodile wouldn’t twist, which could have caused more serious tearing wounds and possibly dragged him overboard.
“If it had gone into a twist, it would have given me a bit of grief,” Dearly said. “It went for another bite,and it actually released its grip. And I just got my arm out as soon as it released. So I was pretty lucky it dropped back down in the water.”
Dearly went by car to make the hourlong journey to the nearest hospital, at Palmerston, near Darwin.
He said he considers himself lucky it was only a seven-foot croc, mentioning by name two infamous crocs that are 18 feet and 20 feet long: “If it had been one of our bigger crocodiles, we’ve got Brutus and the Dominator up the river there, massive animals.”