2:25 PM PDT, August 9, 2021
An Australian Army soldier out for a swim in a remote area described as “croc-country” was mauled by a crocodile and survived, officials said.
The soldier suffered massive head and chest injuries, but is in currently in stable condition.
“I think he’s very lucky to be alive and here today to tell the story,” Queensland Ambulance Service Denis O’Sullivan said, CBS News reported.
The incident happened on Friday afternoon near a coastal fishing village in the village of Cape York Peninsula about 497 miles north of Cairns, Reuters reported.
“Two blokes have been swimming in croc-infested waters. One got attacked and the other one tried to help,” Lockahard River Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Wayne Butcher said, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporations (ABC), Reuters reported.
The second man rushed to the aid of his friend, and while doing so, suffered arm and wrist injuries. Both men were airlifted to a hospital in Cairns late Friday and listed in stable condition, according to a tweet from the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The Defense Department told ABC both men are Army personnel, CNN reported. A Defense Force spokesperson said that the soldiers’ families were informed of the incident.
In the meantime, Queensland’s Department of Environment said it and a team of wildlife officers would further investigate along that were scheduled to visit the area where the attack happened on Saturday.
The saltwater, also called estuarine, crocodile, is the largest-living crocodile and most likely to eat a human, according to National Geographic. The average-size males reach 17-feet and 1,000 pounds, but specimens 23-feet long and weighing 2,200 pounds are not uncommon.
The saltwater crocodile responsible for the attack may have been up to 2.5 meters longer, according to a Queensland emergency work, CBS News reported. There are between 100,000 and 200,000 saltwater crocodiles native to northern Australia living in the wild, according to data from the Northern Territory government.