We all know that teenagers do some stupid things, and a lot of those stupid things start off as a dare. Over the weekend, one such teenager got an education in the finer points of taking stupid chances. The teen was attacked by a crocodile after jumping into a crocodile-infested river on a dare.
Officials said the boy was lucky, and is currently recovering from serious wounds to his arm. However, another man was not so lucky and officials said Monday they recovered his body after it appears he was also attacked by another crocodile in nearby waters.
Police said that Lee de Paauw, an 18-year-old from Queensland state, was staying at a hostel in the northern Queensland town of Innisfail. About 2:30 a.m. on Sunday he started bragging that he could swim in the river, a known habitat for aggressive saltwater crocodiles.
Sophie Paterson, a British backpacker who was at the hostel admitted that she and several others egged him on, though none of them thought he’d actually get in the water. But it appears that de Paauw is lacking in common sense and he did get in the water. Witnesses said that almost instantly, a crocodile latched onto him.
“It all happened very fast. Pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming,” Paterson told Queensland’s Courier-Mail newspaper. “There was blood everywhere and he just wouldn’t stop screaming.”
Somehow, De Paauw managed to pull himself free of the crocodile and out of the water. Queensland paramedic, Neil Noble, said the teen suffered extensive injuries to his arm, and was lucky to escape from the crocodile before the animal drowned him.
On Monday, Queensland authorities recovered a body believed to be that of a man who vanished on Saturday. The 35 year old man had been spearfishing alone in waters just north of Innisfail. Police said his boat was found anchored about 30 miles north of Innisfail, on Saturday evening, and his spear gun was found floating in the water nearby.
An air and sea search was launched and officials spotted a body in the water on Monday morning, Queensland police said in a statement. An initial investigation suggests the man may have been taken by a crocodile, police said. Wildlife officers were hunting for the animal, believed to be around 13 feet long.
Crocodiles have been a protected species for over 30 years. This has led to an explosion in their population across the country’s tropical north. Because saltwater crocodiles can live up 70 years and grow throughout their lives, many reach up to 23 feet in length. Officials said the proportion of large crocodiles is also rising dramatically.