SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian man searching for food in a river by a remote Aboriginal community has survived with multiple bite wounds after a crocodile mauled his chest and arm, paramedics said on Wednesday (May 10).
The 54-year-old was "collecting food in the local waterway" at Palumpa some 353km southwest of Darwin on Tuesday (May 9) afternoon when he was attacked, NT CareFlight Rescue Helicopter said.
"He was able to fend off the crocodile which was two metres in length - a juvenile saltwater crocodile," CareFlight's David Wheeldon told AFP.
The man, who was not named, suffered multiple bites and was "bleeding a lot", but was able to walk away from the Daly River and get someone to drive him to a local medical centre, Mr Wheeldon said.
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He was treated and then taken by CareFlight to the Royal Darwin Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
"There was nothing out of the ordinary (in what the man was doing), it's a natural hazard which has been there for thousands of years," Mr Wheeldon added.
"He knew how to handle himself and luckily... the community looked after him to get him to the care he needed."
The Daly River region has been the site of other crocodile encounters.
A teenager camping near a remote creek last year was reportedly bitten on his foot while sleeping in a tent while another man was taken by a crocodile while trying to swim across the river several years ago.
Saltwater crocodile numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in 1971, with recent attacks reigniting debate about controlling them.
The "salties", which can grow up to seven metres long and weigh more than a tonne, are a common feature of the vast continent's tropical north and kill an average of two people a year.