‘Thought I was going to die’: How man fought off ‘huge’ croc
A WEIPA man has survived a terrifying attack from a large saltwater crocodile by stabbing the animal in the eye while his partner looked on in horror from the bank of a popular Cape York swimming hole.
Isaac Adidi was enjoying an afternoon dip on Sunday at Vyces swimming hole with his partner Shawntain Manantan and cousin when the unseen predator approached.
"We swam for two hours and were getting ready to leave when Isaac got pulled under water. We thought he was just mucking around and didn't take him serious," Ms Manantan said.
"I just seen him getting slapped around under the water and didn't know what to do," she said.
"We literally couldn't do anything but watch what was happening and it happened so fast.
"We ran and dragged him up (the bank) and the croc was coming with its mouth open."
Bleeding from the hand and back the swimmers sped to Weipa Hospital before Mr Adidi was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor aircraft to Cairns for emergency surgery.
Ms Manantan said she only saw the head of the croc, estimated to be 4m long, as it chased her partner up the bank "but it was huge".
"It's not every day you witness someone getting attacked by a croc and he survived," she said.
"If it had been a kid they would have died, they would have had no chance."
Queensland Environment Department control room spokesman Ren Bone said injury to Mr Adidi's hand was consistent with an attack from a three metre plus crocodile.
"We've currently got wildlife officers on the ground working to identify that animal so that we can remove it from the wild," he said.
"That may include daytime and night time assessments that could be continuing for several days - hopefully a bit shorter but we'll keep (the public) updated."
About to undergo surgery on his injured hand, Mr Adidi - from his Cairns Hospital bed - said the reality of the near fatal encounter was still sinking in.
"I am still pretty shocked to be honest," he said.
The 22-year-old deckhand said he was the last swimmer in the group to leave the water when the croc attacked on Sunday afternoon.
"It grabbed me from the back just as I was about to get out," he said.
"It tried to pull me under and then let me go for a second and (it) had a hold of my hand and pulled me under again."
He credits skills learnt watching YouTube videos with saving his life.
"He's got a hold of my left hand and his face was right in front me and I got my index finger and tried to scoop his eye out," he said.
"(Then) I got on the shore just in time (but) it was still chasing me."
On reflection of the near-death experience there is no doubt Mr Adidi believes himself lucky to be alive.
"When it first pulled me down I thought I was going die for sure," he said.
The Weipa incident was the second Far North croc attack in 10 days after a man was also bitten while swimming at Cairns' Lake Placid.
Originally published as 'Thought I was going to die': How man fought off 'huge' croc