Man ‘pried open crocodile jaws’ from his head after being attacked while snorkelling

A man on the Gold Coast has recounted the harrowing experience where he freed himself from the clutches of a crocodile by prying open “its jaws around my head” during a snorkelling trip on Saturday.

Marcus McGowan, aged 51, was approximately 40 kilometres off the Cape York Coast in Queensland, when a saltwater crocodile approached him from behind and launched an attack.

Initially, McGowan mistook the creature for a shark, but upon reaching up, he realised that it was, in fact, a crocodile.

“I thought it was a shark but when I reached up I realised it was a crocodile,” he said in a statement released by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.

“I was able to lever its jaws open just far enough to get my head out.”

After successfully freeing his head from the jaws of the crocodile, the animal persisted. Using his right hand, the snorkeller fended off the reptile, which resulted in the crocodile biting his hand. The creature measured approximately three meters in length.

Despite the alarming situation, Marcus and the rest of the people in the water, including his wife, managed to swim to safety aboard the boat. Once there, he received immediate first aid treatment while the crew expedited their return to the shore.

Following the attack, he was transported back to Haggerstone Island and subsequently flown to Thursday Island Hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Cairns by the Royal Flying Doctor Service on Sunday, as reported by 7News.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Marcus expressed his gratitude that the crocodile chose to target him instead of the children or other members of the excursion group he was with.

“I was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time,” he said.

“[I] understand that when you enter the marine environment, you are entering territory that belongs to potentially dangerous animals, such as sharks and crocodiles.”

The 51-year-old suffered lacerations to his scalp and puncture wounds on his head and hand, according to the Cairns Post.

This incident occurred several years after another individual, who had been attacked by a crocodile in far north Queensland, managed to pry open the animal’s jaws and free himself, sustaining comparable injuries to his hand and head.

Originally published as Man ‘pried open crocodile jaws’ from his head after being attacked while snorkelling

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