Man Hunting in Waist-Deep Water Survives Crocodile Attack by Hanging Onto Mangroves

An Australian man somehow escaped with his life after fending off a crocodile that attacked him during a fishing trip in the country's Northern Territory.

The attack took place at around 5:00 p.m. local time on April 28, Australian Associated Press reported. The man, 23-year-old Kelvin Guyula, had been fishing on the Glyde River close to an outstation near Ramingining, an Aboriginal community approximately 360 miles east of Darwin.

Northern Territory Police Watch Commander Siiri Tennosaar said Guyula was wading waist-deep in water when a 6-foot crocodile grabbed him. Guyula held onto some nearby mangroves until the crocodile "for some reason" released him and swam away.

"So other than suffering some pretty deep lacerations to his upper thigh, he managed to get away with no life-threatening injuries," said Commander Tennosaar.

"He should buy a lotto ticket. I reckon he is the luckiest man alive."

Guyula described the encounter on 9 News, explaining that he did not see or feel the crocodile as it approached him. He went into "fight-or-flight" mode when it grabbed him by the legs, grabbing hold of the mangroves to use for support.

"I took the tree with my right hand, and I pulled myself to the ground," he recalled.

Once he reached the safety of land and the crocodile swam away, he called to his family for help and made a tourniquet out of his belt to stem the flow of blood.

Guyula was treated at a nearby health clinic before being transported to hospital.

"I feel lucky, my bones is good and my muscles too," Guyula told 9 News. He said the encounter had not put him off fishing in the river, saying: "I'll just look after myself better."

Saltwater Crocodile is pictured at the Australian Reptile Park
A Saltwater Crocodile is pictured at the Australian Reptile Park January 23, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. A 23-year-old man escaped from the grasp of a crocodile in Australia's Northern Territory after holding on to some mangroves. Ian Waldie/Getty

According to the Northern Territory Government, there are an estimated 100,000 saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory wilderness, where they are a key predator and part of the ecosystem.

By the species standard, the crocodile that attacked Guyula was relatively small. The average adult can grow to lengths of around 9 to 16 feet, while the largest-ever caught measured 21 feet. The saltwater crocodile is the largest species of reptile alive.

According to The Australian Museum, some of the largest crocodiles see humans as a source of food. The majority of attacks have been directed at swimmers, canoers or people close to the water's edge, and Guyula's escape was unusual—chances of escape once caught in a crocodile's jaw are slim and few make it out without serious injury.