An Australian man is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a crocodile who bit him on the leg and the groin area over the weekend after he stepped on the reptile, mistaking it for a log in the shallow waters.
Elston Lami Lami, 42, was out hunting with his two dogs on Saturday close to Minjilang on Croker Island, northeast of the Northern Territory’s capital of Darwin, when he was attacked, according to ABC Darwin.
“I actually climbed on and stood on top of the croc for 15 seconds,” Lami Lami told 9News following the incident. “My cousin then told me I was standing on top of its back, and in a split second he spun me around and knocked me over.”
He continued, “He started flipping me and I hit the bank, then he attacked.”
Things then took a turn for the worst as the frustrated 16-foot-long, saltwater croc took hold of Lami Lami’s legs with its jaw and began to drag him, according to 9News. Luckily, the hunter was able to shake free from the animal’s grasp after kicking its nose a few times. But just when he thought he was free, the crocodile came back for more.
“I kept on dragging myself up the bank, and all I saw was a big splash,” Lami Lami told 9News. “When he came up with his jaws open, I spread my left leg and he got me on the shorts. I held the jaw with my right hand, and I hammered it with my left hand, so I hit it four times.”
The father of two went on to explain how he wrestled for his life, thinking of his two daughters as his inspiration to keep going.
“I saw it coming out from the water, and he started chasing me,” he said. “I ran — blood was gushing out of my left leg — I ran for my life.”
“If it wasn’t for my kids, I wouldn’t be alive right now,” Lami Lami stated, also crediting the dogs and his cousin for yelling and distracting the animal, providing him with the chance to run away, ABC Darwin reported.
After escaping the crocodile’s grasp, Lami Lami trekked back to his car where he proceeded to take painkillers for his injuries — a bite on his leg and another near his shredded shorts — before he was admitted to the Minjilang Community Health Centre. The croc survivor was later flown to the Royal Darwin Hospital by CareFlight paramedics where he remains in stable condition. The fortunate hunter will stay in the hospital for a few days before being released.
“When you hear a croc attack, you think worst case scenario and hope for the best,” said CareFlight pilot Jamie Humphreys, who responded to the call on the remote island, 9News reported. “This is his first time being attacked by a crocodile. He said he never had fears about walking through murky water or creeks before, but he’s changed his mind now.”