BRISBANE, Australia – A teenager is having surgery on his arm after being bitten by a crocodile in a river in northern Queensland, Australia, where he would have dived to meet a “challenge.”
Paauw Lee, 18, jumped from the pier of the Innisfail Esplanade to the Johnstone River during the early hours of Sunday morning. After the reptile attack, the young man was taken to Innisfail Hospital, and then referred to Cairns Hospital, where he is being treated at the time because of significant injuries to his arm and his hand.
One of the paramedics who attended the boy, Neil Noble, had informed the press at first that the victim had lost his arm, but the information was corrected: he is very injured, but the member has chances of being preserved.
“I hope surgeons can help you and restore full use of your arm,” Noble said.
The paramedic clarified that Lee de Paauw jumped into the river as part of a challenge and had to be rescued by people who were around.
“Reports from the scene tell us he was challenged by friends to jump into the water, which he did, and unfortunately this area is well known for its crocodile population,” he said. “We are grateful that he survived this incident because it could have been fatal. Certainly it was vital that he had managed to get out of the water because the crocodile was capable of having good control over it and drowning it.
EIGHT FATAL ATTACKS SINCE 1985
Brenton Gangemi, owner of local company Snapping Tours, said he believes it is a long saltwater animal that should range from 3.5 to 4 meters. According to Gangemi, Lee de Paauw could also have been attacked by a bull shark, since they are common in the river.
Saltwater crocodiles are one of the most dangerous land animals in Australia and were responsible for eight fatal attacks confirmed in Queensland since 1985.
In May 2016, photographer Cindy Waldron died after being dragged by a 4.3-meter saltwater crocodile while walking with a friend in Thornton Beach, north of Cairns.