A man is recovering in Cairns Hospital after being attacked by an estuarine crocodile while fishing in Far North Queensland.

The reptile has been described as ‘big’ by a spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science.

He told Tropic Now the 60-year-old man was fishing on the banks of the McIvor River north of Hope Vale when the incident occurred.


"One of our rangers has just spoken to him," he said.

"He had been fishing on his property when he approached a bull standing on the banks of the river and attempted to shoo it away so he could fish from that spot.


"He described grabbing a branch of a mangrove tree and holding on as long as he could while the animal attempted to pull him into the water by his boots.

"But the animal was too strong, and he had to let go.

"The man said that as he entered the water, he managed to retrieve his knife from his belt and stabbed the crocodile in its head until it let him go. 

“It was big … a big one … that man is extremely lucky to be alive.”

The spokesman couldn't provide an estimation on the length of the reptile but said the man suffered leg injuries and initially drove to Cooktown Hospital before being transferred to Cairns.

Cairns Hospital has confirmed the 60-year-old is in a stable condition.

He's been in hospital almost a week.


The Department of Environment and Science said due to the circumstances, including the remote location of the property and that there is no public access in the vicinity, it will not target the crocodile for removal from the wild.

It’s the latest in a string of crocodile attacks in Far North Queensland this year.

In January, a man survived being bitten on the head by one of the reptiles at Lake Placid near Cairns.

That was followed days later by another non-fatal attack in Weipa, while a Cairns yachtie was killed after being attacked at Hinchinbrook Island that same month.

In August, two soldiers were seriously injured after being mauled by a crocodile north of Lockhart River.


Main points

  • A 60-year-old man was attacked by a crocodile while fishing north of Hope Vale

  • The man has been recovering in Cairns Hospital since the incident last Wednesday

  • The reptile has been described as 'big' and the man 'lucky to be alive'
He saw it just before it lunged at him and it grabbed him by the foot.