‘The croc took my Sam’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

“I was walk­ing through the park, turned my head to look at my dog, I said ‘come on, we’ve got to get home’ and then a croc came out of the wa­ter and took him.

“I heard the croc’s jaw slam shut.

“I could see my dog in the crocs jaws.”

This is the Churchill told the week.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing she was walk­ing her labrador Sam through the park at Fern­dale Lake, aptly named Warri Park (trans­la­tion: run away), near her home in Port Dou­glas.

The next four min­utes turned into the “most fright­en­ing ex­pe­ri­ence” of her life.

“Af­ter the croc took him I could just see splash­ing and hear yelp­ing,” she said.

“I looked around for as­sis­tance but there was no one around.

“I felt so help­less, but I couldn’t get in the wa­ter.

“But then by some mir­a­cle the croc just let him go. I could see the croc still be­side him, a cou­ple me­tres off­shore.

“I was call­ing out fran­ti­cally to the dog who couldn’t pad­dle fast enough.

“And then it went deadly silent. story Jan this

“I thought he was gone. But when I sneaked a bit closer to the shore I could see him, half in the wa­ter and half on the bank.

“His eyes were open and his head was up but he was gone, just in a daze.”

Jan called out to Sam for what seemed like “for­ever”.

Just as she thought all hope was lost Sam moved.

“I wanted to pull Sammy in but I had no idea where the croc was. The croc could pull me in as I grabbed Sammy.

“I was scream­ing at him ‘Sammy come here, come here boy!’ and then fi­nally he pulled him­self up and ran to me.”

To­gether they bolted all the way home.

“All the way home Sam was look­ing be­hind us, I think he thought the croc was fol­low­ing,” she said.

Sam was taken to a ve­teri­nary surgery in Moss­man and put into surgery im­me­di­ately.

He had nine punc­ture wounds and a missing tooth.

Last Sun­day, four days af­ter the at­tack, Sam died.

His in­juries proved too much for the 13-year-old dog.

“It was too trau­matic for him,” she said.

“His old body just couldn’t re­cover.”

The dev­as­tat­ing chron­i­cle of events now has Jan wor­ried about the safety of chil­dren.

“It looks lovely, there’s a lot of wildlife and birds but the path is so close to the wa­ter’s edge and look what hap­pened to us,” she said.

“What hap­pens if a fam­ily came with kids and didn’t know any bet­ter?

“Sam just couldn’t come back from an at­tack like that and nei­ther would a young child I think.

“It’s not safe enough and I don’t want to see a child taken.”

For Jan this run in with a “thou­sand-year-old preda­tor” has hit too close to home.

Pics: MAD­DIE WIL­LIAMS

Jan Churchill and daugh­ter Cassie with Sam, who died a few days later. In­set: A croc­o­dile in Fern­dale Lake last week

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