Investigation into Hope Vale crocodile attack
Issued: 9 Nov 2021
Wildlife officers have investigated a report that a 60-year-old man was attacked by an estuarine crocodile on the banks of a remote section of the McIvor River, 20km north of Hope Vale, on Cape York Peninsula.
The man said that on 3 November 2021, he had been fishing on his property when he approached a bull standing on the banks of the river and attempted to shoo it away so he could fish from that spot.
He described seeing the crocodile seconds before it lunged at him, knocking him over as he was about to cast his fishing rod. 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 then scrambled up the bank and drove to Cooktown Hospital for treatment. He was later flown to the Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering.
DES crocodile experts interviewed the man yesterday and advised that his injuries were consistent with a crocodile attack.
The crocodile was likely attracted to that location by the presence of the bull.
Due to the circumstances, including the remote location of the property and that there is no public access in the vicinity, DES will not target the crocodile for removal from the wild.
People in croc country are reminded to always be Crocwise. In particular:
- Expect crocodiles in ALL Far North Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
- Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe
- Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
- Stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating
- The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
- Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure
- Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, at camp sites or at boat ramps
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
- Report all croc sightings to DES by using the QWildlife app or by calling 1300 130 372
Read more information on being Crocwise.