A swim last week in a local lake known for its lurking crocodiles could have ended badly for an Aussie man. Instead, he's now recovering from just minor injuries after one of the reptiles attacked him and he was able to fight it off. First responders tell the Guardian the encounter took place Jan. 20 in Lake Placid, located in Cairns. The man, described by paramedic Paul Sweeney as a "fit individual," was enjoying the water when he felt a "sudden impact," then realized he had a crocodile clamped onto his head. Sweeney tells 9News that the man believed the crocodile to be between 5 feet and 6.5 feet long. The man managed to pry the croc off of him using his hands, then took a "slow swim" back to shore, all the while fearful he'd be attacked again, Sweeney notes, per the Guardian.
The man—who Sweeney tells ABC Australia has been swimming at the lake several times a week for eight years or so, and who was "remarkably calm" about the whole thing—was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was found to be in stable condition. Sweeney says if the croc had chomped down on the man's neck and punctured an artery, things would've been much worse. "Your skull is pretty hard, and there [were] no breaks or fractures or punctures to the skull," he says. Instead, the man suffered not-serious puncture wounds to his scalp, as well as to his face, shoulder, and finger, which the croc managed to bite as the man was prying him off. Local authorities say wildlife officials are now looking for the animal to remove it from the area. (Read more crocodile stories.)