SYDNEY (AFP) - A woman has been savaged by dingoes in the Australian desert, with the mining worker describing how she feared for her life as the pack of wild dogs tore flesh from her legs.
Deb Rundle was on her lunch break at a site in the Pilbara region of Western Australia last week when she followed a small dingo after it snatched her phone.
The 54-year-old said she then noticed three other nearby animals, and as she began backing away, they attacked.
"There was blood everywhere on the ground. I just looked at my wounds and 'Oh my God'," she told Channel Seven television late Monday (July 23) from her hospital bed.
"I looked down and thought 'Oh my God, am I going to die?, are they going to get me down?'."
Rundle, who will undergo reconstructive surgery to graft skin to her body, said she screamed for 10 minutes before co-workers came to her aid.
"They just wouldn't let go. I think once they had the taste they just didn't let go," she said of the feral dogs, which are native to Australia.
A relative of the woman added: "She had bites everywhere but her head."
East Pilbara shire president Lynne Craigie said she had never seen a dingo attack like it in her 20 years living in the region.
"Obviously any animal that's hungry is going to be aggressive but I was very surprised to hear there were three of them sort of attacking in a pack," she told broadcaster ABC.
Dingo attacks are rare, with just a handful of incidents reported in recent years.
In 2012 a German man was savaged while camping on Fraser island in Queensland state, while a three-year-old and a South Korean woman were bitten in separate incidents on the popular tourist destination known for its dingo population the year before.
A nine-year-old boy was killed by wild dogs there in 2001.
The most prominent dingo case involved baby Azaria Chamberlain who was snatched by one in 1980.
Chamberlain's mother spent three years in jail convicted of her murder, but was released in 1986 when some of her daughter's clothing was recovered by chance near a dingo lair.
She fought for decades to clear her name in a sensational case which spawned a Meryl Streep film, with a coroner finally ruling in 2012 that a wild dog took the child.