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Teen croc survivor had '10 cups of goon' before taking dare

THE teenager who was mauled by a crocodile while showing off to a girl has shrugged off his "haters" following his dramatic brush with death.

Lee De Paauw, 18, suffered serious injuries to his left arm when he was viciously attacked by a crocodile after he jumped into the Johnstone River in Innisfail on Saturday night.
 


As he recovered from surgery at the Cairns Hospital he told media the incident occurred because he wanted to "prove a point" to a young female backpacker he had just met.

"I started telling (her) about backpackers are more likely to get eaten by crocodiles than Australians so we decided to go down to the river and test the theory," he said.

Mr de Paauw said the crocodile immediately grabbed his arm and didn't let go when he punched it in the snout, only finally releasing him when he gouged it in the eye.

British backpacker Sophie Paterson saw the crocodile attack.
British backpacker Sophie Paterson saw the crocodile attack. Elisabeth Champion,

Mr De Paauw said he had consumed "about ten cups of goon" before jumping in the river but denied he was "one of the stupidest people around" simply replying "haters gonna hate".

Officers from the department of Environment and Heritage Protection have set a trap to capture the crocodile, which is believed to be about 3m long.

"I don't want that crocodile harmed, I want it released back into the wild and I want it to have a happy life," Mr De Paauw said.

 

EARLIER: A QUEENSLAND teenager who jumped into a crocodile-infested river went through with the "dare" to impress a female backpacker.

Lee De Paauw was mauled by a crocodile after leaping into a river at Innisfail on a so-called "dare" and was witnessed "screaming and splashing the second he hit the water".

 

Lee De Paauw has undergone surgery on his left arm.
Lee De Paauw has undergone surgery on his left arm. Supplied

 

De Paauw, 18, managed to escape the jaws of a crocodile, which was believed to be up to 3m long, by punching it in the head repeatedly as a female backpacker watched on, unable to help as the attack unfolded.

De Paauw has since revealed he accepted the dare to impress the young British backpacker.

"I just wanted to show the backpacker. I got her number and her name is Sophie," he told Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa on Monday.

Mr De Paauw said he had jumped in the water and was swimming back to a jetty "when the croc grabbed my arm, dragged me back out and started rolling".

"It took me out about six metres from the wharf. I hit it once on the nose, it loosened a bit.

"I got another hit in and it was right on its eye. I was lucky because it just dropped me."

British backpacker Sophie Paterson, 24, said the local teenager jumped into the Johnstone River just after midnight yesterday after earlier bragging about being able to swim in the crocodile infested waters.

"He was talking about the local creek saying 'I can swim out' and so we said, 'go on then', but we didn't think he would do it," she said.
 

 

Ms Paterson said she and her friends had met Mr De Paauw a few hours earlier over drinks at the local hostel where she was staying.

"He sort of made this claim 'I'll swim out and back', (and) at first we just said 'don't be so ridiculous' and didn't think he was going to go through with it,'' she said.

"It all happened very fast, pretty much as soon as he jumped in, there was splashing and screaming."

Lee de Paauw, 18, was dared to jump into the croc-infested river.
Lee de Paauw, 18, was dared to jump into the croc-infested river. AAP /Facebook

Ms Paterson said the teenager managed to pull himself from the water while she yelled at her friends to call an ambulance.

"There was blood everywhere and he just wouldn't stop screaming,'' she said.

"I thought he had lost his arm because of how bad it looked."

Paramedics rushed Mr De Paauw, who suffered lacerations and multiple fractures, to Innisfail Hospital where he was stabilised.

He was then taken to Cairns Hospital where he underwent surgery on his left arm. The surgery is understood to have been successful.

Ms Paterson said she arrived in Innisfail last Wednesday and while she was aware there were crocodiles had "no idea how ­serious it was".

"I know he's a local and probably knew the area better but I can't help but feel for him,'' she said.

The attack comes in the midst of renewed debate about a proposal to cull crocodile populations in northern Queensland.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said most locals would know not to jump into the Johnstone River.

"Most people have got common sense ... we can't legislate to protect dickheads, but we need to be protecting the community, public safety and our tourism reputation are priority," he said.

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokesman confirmed the crocodile was being targeted for capture and removal.

Topics:  crocodile editors picks

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