Qld teen learns lesson from croc mauling


A supplied image obtained Sunday, March 19, 2017 of Lee de Paauw, 18, who was mauled by a crocodile after jumping in the Johnstone River at Innisfail in far north Queensland for a dare on March 19, 2017. (AAP/Lee Depaauw Facebook)

A Queensland teenager who acted on a foolish boast to swim in a croc-infested river seems to have learnt his lesson, vowing he won't try the dangerous stunt again.

Lee De Paauw has undergone surgery for gruesome wounds to his arm after he leapt into the Johnstone River at Innisfail just before 2.30am on Sunday.

Asked on Sydney radio if he would jump into the river again, the teenager told by Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa: "No, I wouldn't.

"I've been in that river before, you know? And I didn't expect it to happen."

British backpacker Sophie Paterson said the 18-year-old had been boasting to drinking companions at a local hostel he was willing to take a night-time dip in the river - a known crocodile habitat.

Within seconds of leaping from the Innisfail esplanade wharf, he was engaged in the fight of his life when a croc took him in its jaws.

"He was talking about the local creek saying 'I can swim out' and so we said 'go on then', but we didn't think he would do it," Ms Paterson has told The Courier-Mail.

"It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming. There was blood everywhere and he just wouldn't stop screaming."

The teen was incredibly lucky to have freed himself from the croc's jaws before it went into a death roll and drowned him, paramedics say.

He is now expected to spend the week in hospital recovering.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said locals should understand the dangers of living in croc country.

"Most people have got common sense ... we can't legislate to protect dickheads," he told the newspaper.

Brenton Gangemi, who owns local wildlife cruise company Snapping Tours, said he believed the croc was a three-and-a-half to four metre male saltwater crocodile frequenting the area recently.

Rangers are trying to locate the croc believed responsible for the latest attack.

© AAP 2017

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