Croc hunt continues
Fisherman in 15 minute battle with beast
THE hunt for a 4m crocodile that attacked a fisherman near Weipa continues today, with authorities yet to decide whether the animal will be relocated or destroyed.
Todd Bairstow, 28, underwent surgery yesterday after being attacked at Trunding Creek late Wednesday.
The Rio Tinto miner spent 15 minutes fighting the croc before finally getting free.
Witnesses said the animal lunged from the water and tore-off the man’s thumb, pushing him backwards and leaving his legs to dangle in the creek. It then returned to grab his legs.
Weipa man Kev Bevin saw the attack from the nearby pub and raced down to help.
He belted the croc with a branch until it let go. ‘‘ I saw the bloke’s arms hanging out and also sticking out was the top part of his body, screaming out for help,’’ he said.
With his dog by his side, the avid fisherman had been casting lures out from the bank at the creek mouth when the crocodile attacked.
Family from South Australia flew in to be with the man, who is still recovering in Cairns Base Hospital after undergoing two operations.
A Brisbane wildlife crocodile specialist, joined by a team of Weipa police and a local ranger, will today continue the hunt for the monstrous animal.
‘‘ Locals say there is a nesting female there and has never been a problem, but we’re still not sure if it was this animal,’’ Department of Environment and Resource Management’s Michael Devery said.
‘ ‘ The animal may have moved on, so we need to determine it’s there.’’
An Albatross Bay Resort spokesman said staff warned patrons about the crocodile seen drifting past the pub every week.
‘‘ The fisherman was less than 100 metres from the hotel and he would have walked past a huge sign that warns people about crocs,’’ he said. ‘‘ All the locals know he‘ s there but that doesn‘ t stop people from ignoring the signs.’’
Weipa Fishing Adventures owner David Newman, who has lived in the area for 18 years, said most fishermen knew they were angling in ‘‘ croc country’’.
‘‘ They all know the dangers and it’s just weird this bloke didn’t,’’ he said. ‘‘ There have been quite a few of them around lately.
‘‘ Down at Mission Bridge, fishermen lure down there at night, and there’s one big fella that gets a bit cheeky with t hem. There’s al s o Gecko Creek with a big croc in it, where a mate of mine says he gets bumped by the croc nearly every time he goes through, so he just throws a couple of rocks and goes on his way. But if you venture into its territory it’s not the croc’s fault.’’
Todd Bairstow is taken to Cairns hospital