Croc vic­tim re­lives fear

In­jured Snakes Dow­nun­der owner re­turns to scene of terrifying at­tack

Isis Town and Country - - News - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

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.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

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.

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