Croc victim relives fear
Injured Snakes Downunder owner returns to scene of terrifying attack
IAN JENKINS braces himself against one of the crocodile enclosures at Snakes Downunder as he is hit with another flashback.
He closes his eyes as the events of January 4 replay in his mind for the umpteenth time, forcing Mr Jenkins to relive the moment his life was almost cut short.
“I don’t remember too much of it,” Mr Jenkins said.
“I remember climbing out of the water and thinking what everyone at the park must’ve been thinking.”
Mr Jenkins was hosting one of his daily crocodile-feeding shows with the park’s male, Macca.
“It was a pure mistake on my part,” Mr Jenkins said.
“It’s something that should never have happened.”
Mr Jenkins explained he took a risk to coax Macca to stay out of the water longer for the benefit of those at the park.
In doing so he made a simple mistake, the consequences of which he will have to learn to live with.
Mr Jenkins explained he stepped outside “the arc”, which is the safest area for the handler to stand.
“You don’t get in that area whatsoever,” he said.
“If you’re straight on you can see what they’re doing and be ready for them. I was slightly off to the side and that’s how I got in trouble.
“Their sideways action is incredibly fast.”
Macca lashed sideways as Mr Jenkins waved a hat to distract the 4m-long beast.
The croc grabbed Mr Jenkins’ left hand holding the hat, ripping his thumb and part of his hand clean off and sending Mr Jenkins into the water, where he hit his head.
He praised the quick reaction of his fellow employees, who distracted Macca and allowed Mr Jenkins to escape.
“It would’ve been a different story if they weren’t there,” he said.
Mr Jenkins returned to the Childers park late last week, but is understandably keeping a low profile as he gets used to life without a left thumb.
He said he had “a few stern words” to Macca and had already been in his enclosure since the accident.
“I want people to understand he’s not an aggressive crocodile,” Mr Jenkins said.
“It was a pure mistake on my part and was quite unprofessional.
“What I did was risky and I paid the price.”
Snakes Downunder continues to operate as normal.
Snakes Downunder owner Ian Jenkins It was a pure mistake on my part and was quite unprofessional. What I did was risky and I paid the price.
PAID THE PRICE: Snakes Downunder owner/operator Ian Jenkins comes face to face with 4m crocodile Macca after he was bitten during a show on January 4, losing his left thumb and part of his hand.