Australian Crocodile Attacks - Australia
Crocodiles are carnivores. They eat different types of meat exclusively.
When food is very close to it a saltwater crocodile will attack with astonishing and overwhelming speed, the crocodile is able to leap its full body length out of the water in a vertical position. After a crocodile has killed its prey it will tear its victim to pieces by violently shaking it from side to side if the victim is too large to swallow whole. The body of the victim is held above the surface of the water and torn to pieces or the crocodile will roll while holding a piece of the body. When the victim is of a large size, the arms, legs and the head can be separated from the torso.
The crocodile will then eat the pieces. After a known attack on a human, searchers will often find parts of the victims body and clothes, they have even been found in surrounding trees.
Crocodiles will eat dead animals, although evidence appears to show they would prefer recently killed prey. Folk tales say that a crocodile will store the body of its victim until it starts to rot but there is little evidence of this. Not all crocodile attacks are born of a need to eat, sometimes they happen by accident when the creature is run into or surprised out of the water.
Crocodiles will attack people for a variety of reasons
In the course of people handling them
Recorded Crocodile Attacks
It is hard to find a record of crocodile attacks. While living in Darwin for 11 years I recall three crocodile attacks, two of which were fatal and one where the lady survived with horrific injuries. I have kept a record of attacks that I have read or know about. This record is only the attacks I have recorded since taking an interest in crocodiles. Given the ambush of the crocodile and the fact the victims are dragged into the water it is safe to assume there are far more fatalities than we know about. Many people would simply disappear.
There are a lot of indigenous people who live in very remote areas who hunt and fish for food. Many people in Australia will go fishing by themselves in remote areas. This list is only what I could find and what I have heard myself reported by the media. I have never been able to find an official government record of attacks.
Kakadu Northern Territory
A woman was in a canoe on a waterway by herself in Kakadu in the Northern Territory (why she did that is anyone’s guess). The canoe hit what she thought was a floating log which turned out to be a very large crocodile which then attacked and overturned the canoe.
The woman swam to the muddy sides of the waterway and struggled up the steep bank only to be grabbed by the leg by the crocodile and dragged back into the water and put into a death roll.
For some reason the crocodile released the woman. Severely mauled she made it back to the bank and again struggled up to the top of the bank. She was again grabbed by the crocodile by her other leg but this time she had hold of part of a tree root on the bank. The crocodile mauled her again trying to pull her back into the water and again let go of her.
Very badly injured the woman managed to crawl onto safe land and then through the bush where she was found and taken to hospital.
I knew two nursing staff at Darwin hospital at the time and the description of the woman’s injuries were frightening. She managed to keep her legs and after recovering said that she did not want the crocodile killed.
That crocodile reacted out of instinct, a canoe is simply not suitable to be on the water in areas the Saltwater crocodile lives.
East Alligator Crossing Kakadu
A local man was fishing on the concrete barrage that vehicles use to cross the East Alligator River. A large black crocodile was known to frequent the area.
The man fell into the water in front of witnesses. He tried to swim to safety and the crocodile swam over, took him by the head and swam away with his body in front of witnesses. His body was later recovered but the capture of the crocodile was prevented by local aborigines who regard the crocodile as a totem and therefore it was sacred to them.
Boroloola Northern Territory
A man fell asleep on the boat ramp on the river at Boroloola. He was taken by a large saltwater crocodile and his body found in the stomach of the crocodile when the crocodile was caught, killed and cut open.
A yacht entered a river system known as a habitat for large crocodiles. The yacht moored near a beautiful large waterfall that emptied into a saltwater river. The woman dove into the water to swim to the waterfall and was attacked by a large crocodile.
Her friends watched helplessly as the crocodile swam away with their friend held above the water still alive. Her body was later recovered.
It is probably safe to assume that because she was from another country that she didn’t know of the danger.
Weipa Gulf of Carpentaria Queensland
A 32 year old man was killed by a crocodile at Weipa in North Queensland. Police investigated the shallow creek where he went to, where he undressed himself and bathed in to cool off. Close to the bank tracks were found of a large crocodile that was lying there and probably slid into the water silently as soon as it heard the man approaching. As soon as the man waded through the water he was seized and killed by the crocodile.
Pindi Pindi Queensland 1933
A crocodile was responsible for killing 2 schoolgirls at Pindi Pindi, Queensland (Australia) in 1933. They disappeared after going to school on horseback. One girl was drowned, the body of the other girl was found in the crocodile's stomach. The crocodile was found and killed.
Crocodile Handler Killed 1994
A group of tourists watched in horror as a large crocodile killed his handler in a `death roll' at the Johnston River Crocodile Farm yesterday. The handler, who had two years experience with crocodiles, was inside the crocodiles enclosure. While tourists looked on, he tapped the crocodile with a rake. The 4.1m crocodile grabbed the handler by the upper arm and dragged him into the water. The crocodile rolled, taking the man's head and upper arm into its jaws. The man would have died instantly. One horrified tourist grabbed a pole and hit at the crocodile. Another grabbed hold of the victim's ankle and tried to pull him away. He said the crocodile was "just like a bulldozer".
from Townsville Bulletin, 1994
Stratford Cairns 1983
A 10 year old boy was taken by a saltwater crocodile while swimming with his father and brothers in shallow water in the Barron River in Cairns Queensland. The crocodile surfaced a short time later with one of the boys legs in it’s mouth.
from Cairns Post 21st January 1893.
Daintree River Queensland December 1985
A woman was taken by a crocodile during a midnight swim in the Daintree River last night. Beryl Wruck, 43, disappeared without a sound as she splashed in the shallow creek. She and several other party-goers were cooling off after an evening of dancing and drinking.
The water was only 45cm deep.
Experts believe the attack was a typical crocodile ambush. Beryl, crouched down in the water, appeared to be a small prey for the 5m crocodile.
Yorkeys Beach Cairns January 1997
A 35 year old man was lucky to be alive after he survived a crocodile attack at Yorkeys Beach on Friday night. Ron Bakx suffered deep puncture wounds to the head, back and shoulder in the attack. Mr Bakx, still in shock, said he could not remember seeing the crocodile.
A 15 year old girl was mauled by a crocodile in Chinaman Creek, close to the Cairns city centre last night. The girl was at a `beer party' at a nearby camp. She went to the creek to swim when the 3m crocodile grabbed her leg. She was dragged underwater for several minutes. Then she caught hold of an overhead mangrove branch. The girl survived the attack.
Port Douglas Queensland 5 October 2001
An Australian girl has survived an attack by a salt water crocodile in Queensland. The girl was playing in the water when the six foot crocodile grabbed her, dragging her into deeper water and began a death roll. For some reason the croc then released eight-year-old, who swam to safety. Screaming and bleeding, she managed to stagger back to her father who immediately rushed her to hospital where she had emergency surgery for deep bites and cuts to her chest, leg and arm. Her father, said that the attack was completely unexpected in the shallow waters at Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, in Queensland.
23 October 2002
Kakadu Northern Territory
Sandy Billabong south of Jabiru. According to a police spokesman shortly after the attack.
A group of tourists entered the water at Sandy Billabong despite Crocodile warning signs that were posted at and on the way to the Billabong.
It was at 11.30 at night and there was a full moon. It had been a hot day and the night was hot as well. The group were swimming about 10 metres from shore when one of the group felt something bump his leg, he then saw a large dark shape take the woman under the water.
The following day Wildlife officers found the womans body some 2 kilometres from the attack site. The Crocodile responsible was guarding the body, Wildlife officers harpooned the animal and killed it. A larger Crocodile was also in the same spot.
North Of Cooktown Queensland
On the same day as the above Kakadu fatality 2 men in a small aluminium boat were fishing north of Cooktown. A large 5 metre Crocodile approached the boat and showed interest. One of the men took a photo just before the crocodile attacked the boat slicing through the aluminium hull with its teeth. The men escaped unharmed.
25th November 2002
Groote Eyelandt Gulf of Carpentaria
A 29 year old off duty Policeman was spearfishing off Groote Eyelandt when he felt a pain in his back. He then saw a Saltwater Crocodile swim past him from behind. He sought refuge on a coral outcrop and 10 minutes later he saw the Crocodile swim away. This guy was very lucky, the only injury he sustained was a 3 centimetre gash on his back.
14th September 2003
Patonga Aboriginal community outstation, about 200km south-east of Darwin
A 10 year old Aboriginal girl felt a crocodile brush against her legs moments before being attacked in a Billabong near Potonga Community in the Northern Territory.
The girl suffering a 20cm gash and cuts to her right thigh. She said there was a big swirl of water before the crocodile attacked. The attack happened on Saturday in a billabong near the Patonga Aboriginal community outstation, about 200km south-east of Darwin. The 2.15 metre crocodile was shot and killed.
23rd December 2003
Finnis River 80 kilmetres south west of Darwin Northern Territory
3 Teenage boys quad biking stopped to wash the mud off themselves in the Finnis River which was flooding due to a recent cyclone. Brett Mann a diesel mechanic from Darwin slipped into deeper fast flowing water and his friends Shaun Blower & Ashley McGough swam to his aid.
Ashley and Shaun saw the 4 metre crocodile and Ashley screamed out a warning before he and Shaun climbed into the top of a tree that was partially underwater. Neither of them saw Brett taken but as they looked for their friend the Crocodile surfaced with Bretts body in it's mouth and seemingly waved the boys body in the direction of the other two while looking at them.
The Crocodile swam away with Brett. The Crocodile returned a short while later circling the tree and eyeing the boys trapped in the top of the tree. The boys spent the night in the tree before they were found by searchers and air winched by a helicopter to safety.
Authorities are still looking for Bretts body and the Crocodile.
There has been no report of either being found some 3 days after the attack.
11th October 2004
Far North Queensland
Bathurst Bay 250 klms north of Cooktown
Andrew Kerr was in a tent with his wife and baby 40 metres from water when he was dragged from the tent by a 4.2 metre Saltwater Crocodile. Mrs Kerr said she was awoken by a thud to see the Crocodile at the entrance to the tent just standing there. Andrew woke up and the Crocodile lunged and grabbed him by the legs dragging him out of the tent as his wife held onto his hand and their child’s basinet the crocodile was dragging all of them out of the tent.
60 year old grandmother Alicia Sorohan and her husband alerted by the screams rushed to the nearby tent to see Andrew being dragged towards the water by the Crocodile. Mrs Sorohan immediately jumped onto the Crocodiles back and the Crocodile instantly turned and grabbed her by the arm, fortunately there was a gun handy and Alicia's son Jason shot the Crocodile in the back of the head ending the attack. Both victims suffered multiple wounds and were evacuated by helicopter after their radio distress signals were picked up by quarantine officers working in the area.
The male Crocodile was estimated to be around 50 years old. Had a gun not been available this could have turned into a tragedy.
17th August 2005
Lakefield National Park - Cape York Peninsula
60 year old Townsville railway shunter Barry Jeffries was dragged from a canoe while fishing with his wife in Lakefield National Park on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. His wife Glenda swam to safety. Body has not yet been recovered but rangers have shot a large Saltwater Crocodile believed to be the animal responsible. Oz Magic advises that canoes are not suitable in tidal coastal areas anywhere in Northern Australia. Had these people not been in a canoe this attack might not have happened. 18/08/05 Updated news reports now say the Crocodile shot was not the one responsible so rangers are once again searching for the Crocodile.
26th September 2005
Picnic Beach - Groote Eylandt Gulf of Carpentaria
POLICE are hunting a four metre crocodile believed to have killed a British national who had been snorkeling off a remote Northern Territory island. The body of 37-year-old mines superintendent Russell Harris was found yesterday morning after he failed to return from a snorkeling trip off Groote Eylandt, off Arnhem Land.
29th September 2005
Coburg Penninsula Northern Territory
A 56 year old man scuba diving on the Coburg Penninsula was found dead with wounds consistent with being attacked by a large Crocodile.
9th July 2006
Crocodile takes young girl in Northern Territory
An eight-year-old girl is feared dead after being taken by a saltwater crocodile in the Northern Territory.
Police say the girl was fishing with her family in the Blythe River between Maningrida and Ramingining, in Arnhem Land, east of Darwin, when the attack occurred about 8.30pm (CST) Saturday. It is believed she went to the water's edge to collect water when she was taken.
8th November 2006
Cape Tribulation Belgian Tourist Bitten
A Belgian tourist was bitten on the knee today by a 2 metre saltwater crocodile at Cape Tribulation north of Cairns. The man was attempting to obtain a photo of the crocodile and despite crocodile warning signs in the area he splashed the water to attract the crocodile closer to get the photo. The crocodile charged out of the water and bit him on the knee.
8th January 2007
An off duty police man was attacked by a 3 metre crocodile while snorkeling with his wife on a reef off Thursday Island north of Cape York Queensland. The crocodile attacked him, dragged him under the water and then released him. He survived the attack.
9th January 2007
Kerry York attacked twice by an unidentified species of Crocodile at Kununurra in the Northern Territory. He survived the attack requiring stitches to wounds and not requiring to stay in hospital.
30th September 2008
An elderly man is suspected killed by a large crocodile this morning. 62 year old Vietnam veteran Arthur Booker had been camping with his wife near the banks of the Endeavour River when the man went to check crabpots about 8.30am.
2nd October 2008 update
Searchers looking for Mr Booker have found two of his sandals and his wristwatch, the search continues. Charlie a 5 metre saltwater crocodile who lives in the area is the prime suspect but two crocodile nesting sites have been found only 400 metres from where Mr Booker disappeared.
13th October 2008 update
Adult human male remains have been found in one of three large saltwater crocodiles caught in the area where Arthur Booker disappeared. Police say further DNA testing is being conducted.
8th February 2009
5 year old Jeremy Doble taken by a large crocodile in the Daintree River Queensland. The attack was witnessed by the victims brother who raised the alarm with their father. The crocodile is suspected to be a crocodile called “Goldie” a dominant male living in a swamp near the families home. No trace of Jeremy has been found yet.
Eleven year old girl taken by a large crocodile while swimming at Black Jungle Billabong near Darwin while with friends. Billabong is a permit only area they were not supposed to be there. Her remains were found later
March 18 2010
Diver attacked by crocodile and survived. He was attacked by a 3 metre crocodile while diving for trepang on the remote Coburg Penninsular. Fellow divers pulled him aboard the boat after he was attacked and he was taken to Darwin Hospital.
February 6th 2011
A man fights off 2.5 metre saltwater crocodile by punching it many times after it grabbed his other arm at Beening Creek at Napranum near Weipa in North Queensland. The area is well known to have a lot of Saltwater Crocodiles.
February 20th 2011
Milingimbi Island Northern Territory
A 14 year old boy was taken by a saltwater crocodile while playing at a creek with his brothers. There has been no sign of the boy despite a search by his community.
9th March 2011
A fisherman has survived a crocodile attack by clinging to mangroves in a creek in far north Queensland, police said. Twenty eight-year-old mine worker Todd Bairstow was fishing on the bank of Trunding Creek, Weipa, about 4pm yesterday when the crocodile attacked.
25th May 2011
A dentist from Broome fishing for Barramundi from his dinghy was baiting his hook to fish when a 2.5 metre Saltwater crocodile launched itself from the water beside his boat and latched onto his shoulder at Secure Bay 270 kilometres from Derby. The man survived with deep puncture wounds and tearing in his right shoulder.
7th December 2011
A snorkeller fatally mauled off Bushy Island Cape York in Queenslands far north is thought to have been attacked by a Saltwater Crocodile. Police have stated the snorkellers wounds are consistent with that of an attack by a Saltwater Crocodile rather than a shark.