gruesome crocodile attack: In a gripping legal battle, two soldiers who faced a harrowing encounter with a colossal crocodile are now suing the Australian Department of Defense.
The incident unfolded in 2021 when these two Australian soldiers while swimming in Queensland, fell victim to an 8-foot crocodile’s vicious attack. This week, a comprehensive 7,000-page evidence brief was filed, charging the department with violating federal workplace health and safety laws.
Engaged in fishing off the Cape York Peninsula, the private in his 20s and the corporal in his 30s subsequently entered the water for a swim. Tragically, the private was ensnared by the crocodile’s jaws, prompting the corporal to act swiftly and pry open the predator’s grip. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the massive reptile redirected its aggression towards the corporal.
The Department of Defense now faces allegations of failing to fulfill its obligations under Australia’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The case asserts that the department neglected to train and inform the soldiers about the risks associated with swimming in crocodile-inhabited waters. Furthermore, it is claimed that the department failed to conduct a proper risk assessment or provide a safety briefing regarding the potential for crocodile attacks.
Katie Goodwin, a local business owner who rushed to assist the injured soldiers, recounted the events to ABC Australia at the time, saying, “One of the guys saved his mate, his mate was in the jaws of the croc. They were able to pry the jaws open. The croc then jumped onto him, grabbed him by the hand, and death-rolled him about four times.”
The corporal managed to escape by stabbing the crocodile in the eye with a knife he had on his belt.
“If he did not have that weapon, both those guys would probably be dead,” Goodwin emphasized. She further described the boat as being stained with blood, making it challenging to transport the badly injured men.
Australia is home to both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, with freshwater crocs generally considered less dangerous to humans and primarily found in inland lakes and billabongs. On the other hand, saltwater crocodiles inhabit brackish and estuarine waters across north Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and parts of south and southeast Asia.
Australia is estimated to house up to 200,000 crocodiles, with these reptiles growing to lengths exceeding 20 feet and weighing up to 2,000 pounds, making them the largest reptiles on Earth.
Crocodile attacks can prove deadly, and collectively, crocs of all species are responsible for approximately 1,000 human fatalities worldwide each year. However, fatal crocodile attacks in Australia are rare, with only three documented deaths since 2018. According to data released by the Australian government in 2017, there has been an average of one crocodile attack recorded per year since 1985.
Both soldiers were swiftly transported to Cairns Hospital via air ambulance due to the severity of their injuries, which included bite and claw wounds.
“Both soldiers suffered significant injuries, including bite and claw wounds, and were treated at Cairns Hospital,” stated Comcare, the national authority responsible for work health and safety and workers’ compensation, in a recent statement.
One soldier sustained broken bones and upper body injuries, while the other had his arm torn open, as reported by the Australian Associated Press.
The case was mentioned in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday but has been adjourned until December by mutual agreement. The maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of $1.5 million AUD, equivalent to $968,000.