An Australian teenager was nearly mauled to death over the weekend after he jumped into a crocodile-infested river, reportedly for a "dare."
Lee De Paauw, 18, was attacked by one of the predators after entering the Johnstone River in north Queensland at around 2.30am on Saturday night.
He is said to have tried to fight off the crocodile by punching it in the head, sustaining severe hand and arm injuries in the process.
Neil Noble, a local paramedic, said the teenager was rescued by his friends before being rushed to Cairns hospital.
"Reports from the scene are he was dared to jump into the water, which he did and unfortunately that area is well known for its crocodile population," Mr Noble told local news website 9News.
"We're just very grateful that he's survived this incident because it could have turned out to be quite fatal.
"Certainly to get out the water was absolutely vital in case that crocodile was able to get a good grip on him and do the death roll and then drown him."
He added that surgeons were hoping to restore full use of Mr De Paauw's arm.
According to the Courier and Mail, British backpacker Sophie Paterson, 24, said the teenager had been bragging about how he could swim in crocodile infested waters. “He sort of made this claim ‘I’ll swim out and back’, (and) at first we just said ‘don’t be so ridiculous’ and didn’t think he was going to go through with it,’’ she said. “It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming.”
The predator is believed to have been a four ft-long saltwater crocodile, one of the most dangerous animals in Australia - eight people have been killed by saltwater crocodiles since 1985.
It is not the first time a swimmer has had to be rescued after taking an ill-advised dip in crocodile-infested waters.
In 2008, Australian police were forced to shoot at a saltwater crocodile to prevent a drunken swimmer from being eaten alive.
The 27-year-had had been dared to swim out to a metal crocodile trap near Groote Eylandt, an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Terrified onlookers saw a large crocodile swimming near the man as he made his way towards the trap, and phoned the police.