SYDNEY • A desperate fisherman threw spanners and spark plugs to fight off circling crocodiles in Australia after his friend drowned when one of the animals capsized their small boat, reports said yesterday.
The holidaymakers were pulling in crab pots on Tuesday in Leaders Creek, 38km north-east of Darwin, when their boat was nudged by a saltwater croc, tipping it over. The men tried to get back on board but it flipped again, trapping one of them underneath, drowning him, the Northern Territory News said.
The survivor, 72, told rescuers he tried to pull the boat to shore before getting stuck waist-deep in mud with three or four crocodiles circling him.
"He was using spanners and spark plugs to hold them at bay," said Mr Ian Badham from CareFlight, an Australian aeromedical charity which flew him to a Darwin hospital.
He managed to make it into nearby mangroves and spent three hours there before some fellow crab-hunters heard his cries for help.
"The man has been left suffering from severe shock and dehydration and exposure," said Mr Badham.
Crocodiles are common in Australia's tropical north and they kill an average of two people a year.
Despite the dangers they pose to swimmers, boaters and fishermen, the Australian government in 2014 rejected the idea of crocodile safari hunts.