A man fought off crocodiles as he battled to save his friend when a crabbing outing turned to tragedy near Darwin, Australia, on 17 May.
The 72-year-old man told the crew of Darwin’s CareFlight TIO Rescue Helicopter of his three-hour ordeal as they flew him from the Leaders Creek boat ramp, near Gunn Point, 38 km (23 miles) northeast of Darwin. The two men from Victoria set out from the boat ramp during the morning. As they attempted to bring some crab pots into their three-metre (10-ft) boat, a crocodile capsized the craft and they were thrown into the water. One of the pair drowned as they tried to climb onto the capsized boat in the water. The survivor threw spanners and spark plugs at other crocodiles that approached, until he managed to push the boat into the relative safety of mangroves. His safety improved as the tide came in.
After some three hours, three professional crabbers heard the man’s shouts and rescued him. They him back to the Leaders Creek boat ramp along with his friend’s body. The men then found other fishermen, who drove to reach an area where they could get mobile phone reception and then raised the alarm.
A doctor and nurse with CareFlight’s TIO Rescue Helicopter flew to the boat ramp and treated the surviving man for severe shock before flying him back to Darwin. Members of the police and St John ambulance also attended the scene at Leaders Creek boat ramp.
CareFlight operates the Top End Medical Retrieval Service which provides medical rescue and retrieval services to locals across the Top End on behalf of the NT Government.