His Odds of Surviving Were 'About Zero,' Yet He Did

Aussie man fends off crocodile with a pocketknife
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2021 12:47 PM CST
His Odds of Surviving Were 'About Zero,' Yet He Did
Stock photo of a crocodile that does not look like it could be taken down with a pocketknife.   (Getty Images/AppleZoomZoom)

(Newser) – An Australian senior's day of fishing last week was marred by a crocodile attack, and authorities say it's amazing he's alive. AFP reports the 60-year-old Queensland man headed to a river on his property in the far reaches of the Cape York Peninsula and found a bull occupying the riverbank area. He drove it off—to the apparent anger of a croc that may have been targeting the bovine. The unlucky fisherman said he saw the crocodile "seconds before it lunged at him, knocking him over as he was about to cast his fishing rod," Matt Brien of the Queensland state environment department says.

The man grabbed onto the branch of a mangrove tree to keep himself out of the water, but the croc opened his mouth wide, closed it around the man's boots, and started pulling him in. That's when the man was able to pull out a pocketknife from his belt and repeatedly stab the crocodile in its head. He managed to break from from the grip of the croc, which was between 13 and 15 feet long. "The odds of doing that are about zero," says Brien. The Guardian notes that the man drove himself to a hospital in Cooktown and received treatment in the ER.

He was subsequently transported to a medical center in Cairns and is said to be in stable condition and continuing his recovery. His injuries were mostly to his feet, in addition to the psychological trauma he endured. Environmental officials say they're not going to go after the croc, as the attack took place in a remote location that isn't typically accessible to the public. Brien calls the man's ordeal "the stuff of nightmares," but notes everyone is "grateful" the guy made it through, per the West Australian. "The fact that he's alive is significant, it's quite amazing, it's almost unheard of," Brien notes. (Read more crocodile stories.)

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