A worker has been bitten by a crocodile in front of horrified visitors at a wildlife sanctuary in Australia.
The 25-year-old man was attacked by the animal at a feeding show at Billabong Sanctuary, in Townsville, Queensland, and was given first aid by a nurse at the scene before paramedics arrived and he was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Ranger Ray Stephens from the sanctuary confirmed to local media that a staff member had been bitten and was “shaken” after the crocodile bit his middle finger. It is believed to be a junior crocodile, about two metres long, that bit him.
David Cole, of Queensland Ambulance Service, said that the man was awake and “in quite good spirits given the nature of what’s just happened”.
He added: He’s going to have a great story to tell his friends in years to come. Very lucky young man,” reported 7news.com. While, Bob Flemming, owner of the Billabong Sanctuary said it was a “minor incident”.
He said in a statement posted on Facebook: “On Monday October 9th there was a minor incident at the 3:15 pm crocodile feeding. A 2 metre crocodile named Junior jumped up and caught the end of the middle finger of the presenter. This was not a ‘crocodile attack’. The ranger was not inside the enclosure but in the airlock adjacent to the enclosure where feeding takes place. Jumping to be fed is the normal routine for feeding this crocodile and the incident was purely a consequence of bad timing.”
Flemming did say that there would be an investigation into what happened. He continued: “A registered nurse on site bandaged the finger. The ranger is in hospital for treatment. There will be a thorough investigation into the incident. There will be no ramifications for Junior. We all wish the ranger a complete and speedy recovery.”
It comes after two other reported incidents involving crocodiles in recent years at the sanctuary. In February this year a 12-foot crocodile escaped from its enclosure with visitors evacuated the park closed until it was recaptured. While in 2016 a crocodile bit the arm of a handler during a feeding show in front of tourists.