A fisherman has escaped unharmed following after a few horrifying moments a crocodile launched itself into his tinnie while he was fishing on New Year’s Eve.
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) was alerted by a member of the public after the large crocodile reportedly leapt from the water and into the tinnie at Jane Creek near St Helens Beach, north of Mackay about 10am on December 31.
Senior wildlife officer Jane Burns said an investigation had been launched, with wildlife officers contacting the fisherman on board on Monday.
Ms Burns said the fisherman told officers the crocodile was not in the tinnie for “too long”.
“This would have been a frightening incident for the fisherman who we are told is a long-term local who has fished in Jane Creek for decades,” she said.
“The man said he had been fishing around four hours and when he saw the large crocodile approaching the boat, he moved to the back of the vessel and started the engine.
“The crocodile swum under the tinnie, then turned and launched itself up and into the vessel with its jaws wide open.
“The man then jumped the crocodile to get to the bow of the tinnie and retrieve the anchor, and the crocodile pivoted, overbalanced and fell into the water, bending the rails of the tinnie.
“The fisherman went to the boat ramp at Black Rock Creek.
“He told us he had never seen such a large crocodile behaving that way in the region before.”
Ms Burns said officers were now conducting daytime site assessments and warning signs for those entering the water.
“Should we not confirm the presence of a crocodile during our daytime search, we will conduct a night-time spotlight assessment in Jane Creek when tidal conditions are suitable,” Ms Burns said.
“If a crocodile is in the vicinity, we will assess its behaviour and the risks posed to public safety, and if it is assessed as a problem crocodile, it will be targeted for removal from the wild.
“People who are using Jane Creek or St Helens Beach should be extremely vigilant, because the Mackay region is Croc Country, and people should avoid complacency around waterways.
“Crocodiles are highly mobile and can be found in any river, creek or ocean beach in Croc Country.
“Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country, and Mackay is known Croc Country and people must be Crocwise while near the water.”