An Australian teenager is now recovering from his wounds from a crocodile attack after being dared to jump into a crocodile-infested river, officials said Monday.
Lee De Paauw, 18, was drinking with friends early Sunday morning around 2:30 am at a hostel in the northern Queensland town of Innisfail when he bragged that he could swim in the river nearby despite knowing that is a known habitat for aggressive saltwater crocodiles.
While trying to impress Sophie Paterson, a British backpacker who was at the hostel, Lee De Paauw accepted a dare to jump into the river. Within seconds, a crocodile latched onto De Paauw.
“It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming,” Paterson told the Queensland’s Courier-Mail newspaper.
“He sort of made this claim ‘I’ll swim out and back’, (and) at first we just said ‘don’t be so ridiculous’ and didn’t think he was going to go through with it,’’ she added.
De Paauw managed to pull himself out of the water after punching the crocodile in the face a few times, he told the newspaper.
Queensland paramedic Neil Noble said De Paauw suffered serious injuries to his left arm and underwent surgery at Cairns Hospital.
De Paauw says despite the attack, Paterson has agreed to go on a movie date with him.
“She’s beautiful, caring and kind. I didn’t know there was a croc there,” he told local media. “I just done it for Sophie.”