Mr Dickmann managed to escape the crocodile’s jaws after poking it in the eye. PHOTO: Adam Britton/Big Gecko
Mr Dickmann managed to escape the crocodile’s jaws after poking it in the eye. PHOTO: Adam Britton/Big Gecko

Crocodile attack victim tells of incredible escape

OFF-duty ranger Craig Dickmann told how he "poked the eyes" of a large saltwater crocodile to free himself from its jaws in a death-defying attack on Cape York.

The 54-year-old had gone fly-fishing alone at remote Captain Billy Landing on Sunday when a 2.5m crocodile lunged out of the water and latched onto his leg.

Mr Dickmann, an experienced bushman, jammed down with his right hand to tear apart the jaws as the reptile clamped down on his leg.

It snapped its jaws open, releasing his leg, but trapped his hand and arm in its fearsome maw.

He told how, in desperation, he poked the deadly predator in the eyes with his free hand.

Mr Dickmann managed to escape the crocodile’s jaws after poking it in the eye. PHOTO: Adam Britton/Big Gecko
Mr Dickmann managed to escape the crocodile’s jaws after poking it in the eye. PHOTO: Adam Britton/Big Gecko

It was enough to distract the animal, allow him to tear free from its jaws, get away, and live to tell the tale.

Mr Dickmann, wounded and bleeding, then drove himself an hour back to Heathlands ranger station, radioed a neighbour for help, and was driven another hour to Bramwell Station airstrip.

 

 

"Craig was in good spirits,'' Bramwell Station tourist park manager Ken Godfrey said of the incident, 900km north of Cairns, on Sunday at about 4pm. "Not too many blokes can say they've been in the jaws of a croc and survived.

"Craig was joking that he'd have the scars to prove it.

"He told how he poked it in the eyes to make it let him go, thankfully it worked.''

Mr Godfrey helped clear the airstrip and load the croc attack victim onto a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight to Cairns Hospital about 8pm Sunday night.

"He's very lucky to be alive, there are a lot of crocodiles in that area. It is monster crocodile country, the whole of the Cape is full of crocs.

"I guess he's lucky this was not a big one, but big enough to do some serious damage.''

Mr Dickmann is expected to undergo surgery to hand, thigh and arm injuries after he fought off the crocodile.

 

 

His friends, workmates and family were last night with him in a hospital bedside vigil.

"Very, very fortunate patient,'' Superintendent Warren Martin, of the Torres and Cape Ambulance Service, said.

"There wouldn't be too many people in Cape York who could say they have had an interaction with a crocodile like this and still be talking about it."

Wildlife officers are at the beachside camp site, empty because of the end of tourist season on the Cape, to identify and remove crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour.

"Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night," an Environment Department statement said.

"Stand back from the water's edge when fishing and don't wade in to retrieve a lure,'' it said.

"Never provoke, harass or feed crocs.''