Croc ride no crock

Mates catch more than they bar­gain for

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A TWO-ME­TRE croc­o­dile re­port­edly hauled a ca­noe car­ry­ing two men around for half an hour be­fore emerg­ing just me­tres from the fright­ened pair in a pop­u­lar part of the Ross River.

Con­don fish­er­man Hay­den Rud­dell was fish­ing with his friend Tim Hill, 18, on Thurs­day when they spot­ted two dots in the wa­ter op­po­site the r ow­ing s hed near Loam Is­land. Just min­utes later they were hooked on to the large beast.

‘‘ The dots went un­der wa­ter and the next thing I had caught some­thing on my lure,’’ Mr Rud­dell said.

‘‘ We didn’t be­lieve it was a croc at first.

‘‘ We were be­ing dragged against the cur­rent ( but) I kept try­ing to pull it in.

‘‘ I never thought I’d bring it in.’’

The shock came when the an­i­mal fi­nally sur­faced near their ca­noe.

‘‘ It was a good, healthy croc – at least two me­tres,’’ Mr Rud­dell said.

‘‘ We snapped the line and just tried to keep the ca­noe up­right.

‘‘ We had two peo­ple in a one-man ca­noe so it was re­ally un­sta­ble ( and) we had tipped ( the ca­noe) be­fore.’’

He said their first re­ac­tion was to sit still.

‘‘ It even­tu­ally thrashed its tail and dis­ap­peared,’’ Mr Rud­dell said.

‘‘ Peo­ple were swim­ming and ex­er­cis­ing their dogs in the wa­ter. We tried to warn the peo­ple at the row­ing shed but they didn’t seem wor­ried.’’

Mr Rud­dell said the pair had fished in the spot a lot re­cently af­ter reel­ing in some good-sized bar­ra­mundi.

‘‘ We had been there three times dur­ing the week,’’ Mr Rud­dell said.

‘‘ I hadn’t seen a croc­o­dile be­fore but I al­ways sus­pected there might be crocs in there con­sid­er­ing we live in North Queens­land.

‘‘’’ Dad said I should buy a Lotto ticket be­cause I was so lucky to have es­caped.’’ In a fit­ting fin­ish to his day, Mr Rud­dell later won more than $ 800 on the pok­ies.

The coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity Safety chair­man, Cr Dale Last, said it was es­sen­tial any croc­o­dile sight­ing was re­ported to coun­cil and the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Re­source Man­age­ment.

‘‘ I cer­tainly cau­tion peo­ple who are con­tem­plat­ing swim­ming in this area to avoid it,’’ he said. ‘‘ It’s highly likely it’s a fresh­wa­ter ( croc­o­dile) but we need to be sure.’’

Photo: TROY RODGERS

HOOKED: Hay­den Rud­dell and his friend took a ride on the wild side in the Ross River cour­tesy of a croc this week

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