Teenager attacked by crocodile after ‘he was dared to jump’ in Queensland river

Lee de Paauw, 18, having surgery after sustaining injuries to arm and hand during swim in Johnstone River in states far north

A teenager is undergoing surgery to his arm after being bitten by a crocodile in a far north Queensland river he reportedly entered on a dare.

Lee de Paauw, 18, jumped from the wharf on the Innisfail esplanade into the Johnstone River just before 2.30am on Sunday and was attacked by the reptile.

He was taken to Innisfail hospital then Cairns, where he is being treated for significant injuries to his arm and hand.

Cairns senior operations supervisor Rita Kelly said the crocodile was not seen before the incident but de Paauws injuries indicated he had been attacked by one.

Queensland paramedic Neil Noble said it was initially reported the man had lost his arm to the crocodile but first responders found it was just very badly injured.

Hopefully surgeons can help him and restore full use of his arm, he said.

Noble said it was believed de Paauw jumped in the river as part of a dare and had to be rescued by friends.

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, he said.

Were just very grateful that hes survived this incident because it could have turned out to be quite fatal.

Certainly to get out the water was absolutely vital in case that crocodile was able to get a good grip on him and do the death roll and then drown him.

Brenton Gangemi, the owner of the local wildlife cruises business Snapping Tours, said he believed the culprit croc was a three-and-a-half to four-metre male saltwater crocodile that had been frequenting the area recently.

Gangemi said de Paauw could also have been attacked by a bull shark as they were common in the river.

Saltwater crocodiles are one of Australias most dangerous land animals and have been responsible for eight confirmed fatal attacks in Queensland since 1985.

In May 2016 the New Zealand-born photographer Cindy Waldron died after she was dragged under water by a 4.3m saltwater crocodile while walking with a friend at Thornton Beach, north of Cairns.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/19/teenager-attacked-by-crocodile-during-early-morning-swim-in-queensland-river

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