Man Escapes 'Big' Saltwater Crocodile by Stabbing It With Knife

A man has escaped a saltwater crocodile attack by stabbing the animal with a knife as it grabbed his leg and tried to pull him into a river in Queensland, Australia.

The 60-year-old man was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery for his injuries, ABC reports.

According to the broadcaster, the man was fishing along a river in the far north of Queensland when his lure got stuck in a tree. As he tried to free the lure from the branch, the crocodile grabbed his leg and tried to pull him into the water.

However, a press release later issued by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) refuted this account. In their statement, officials said the man had approached a bull standing on the banks of the river where he wanted to fish and attempted to shoo it away.

"He described seeing the crocodile seconds before it lunged at him, knocking him over as he was about to cast his fishing rod," the statement said. "The animal then grabbed him by both feet and attempted to drag him into the water.

"He described grabbing a branch of a mangrove tree and holding on as long as he could while the animal attempted to pull him into the water by his boots. But the animal was too strong, and he had to let go.

"The man said that as he entered the water, he managed to retrieve his knife from his belt and stabbed the crocodile in its head until it let him go."

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

According to the local news website TropicNow, the attack took place about a week ago. A spokesperson for the DES told the website that it was a large crocodile. "One of our rangers has just spoken to [the victim]," the spokesperson is quoted as saying. "It was big ... a big one ... that man is extremely lucky to be alive."

The DES said the crocodile had likely been attracted to the area because of the presence of the bull.

The area of Queensland where the man was attacked is known to be populated by crocodiles.

While attacks on humans are relatively rare, the DES advises people to take precautions while near rivers and waterways. "Just because you can't see a crocodile, it doesn't mean there is not one close by. Crocodiles can stay underwater for more than an hour," the DES says. "Even large crocodiles can be completely concealed in knee-deep water."

In October, the DES announced it had captured a 14-foot saltwater crocodile that had been feeding near a local swimming spot popular with children. Authorities were alerted to its potential presence after several calves went missing from the area—it is thought the crocodile had eaten them.

Crocodiles are protected under Australian law and it is illegal to harm or kill them. Permits are sometimes given to trap or shoot problem creatures if it is deemed a danger and there is no other alternative.

The DES said that the crocodile involved in the latest incident will not be targeted for removal from the wild due to the remote location and lack of public access to the area it happened.

The last fatal crocodile attack in Australia took place in February, when a 69-year-old fisherman was taken from a river in far north Queensland. Andrew Heard's dinghy was found capsized and damaged and a search of the area was launched. A crocodile was later caught and killed, and authorities found human remains inside.

This article has been updated with information from the DES throughout.

saltwater crocodile
Stock photo of a saltwater crocodile. A man from Queensland saved himself from a crocodile attack by stabbing the animal with a knife. Getty Images