Australian drunk survives attempt to ride crocodile

Michael Newman explains why he tried to ride the crocodile

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A drunk man who climbed into a crocodile enclosure in Australia and attempted to ride a 5m (16ft) long crocodile has survived his encounter.

The crocodile, called Fatso, bit the 36-year-old man's leg, tearing chunks of flesh from him as he straddled the reptile.

He received surgery to serious wounds to his leg and is recovering in hospital, police say.

He had been chucked out of a pub in the town of Broome for being too drunk.

The man, Michael Newman, climbed over a fence and tried to sit on the 800kg (1,800lb) saltwater crocodile.

Start Quote

If it had been warmer and Fatso was more alert, we would have been dealing with a fatality”

End Quote Malcolm Douglas

"Fatso has taken offence to this and has spun around and bit this man on the right leg," Sgt Roger Haynes of Broome police told journalists.

"The crocodile has let him go and he's been able to scale the fence again and leave the wildlife park."

'Right mind'

Malcolm Douglas, the park's owner, said that the crocodile was capable of crushing a man to death with a single bite.

"The man who climbed the fence was fortunate because Fatso was a bit more sluggish than normal, due to the cooler nights we have been experiencing in Broome," said Mr Douglas.

"If it had been warmer and Fatso was more alert, we would have been dealing with a fatality."

"No person in their right mind would try to sit on a 5m crocodile, Saltwater crocodiles, once they get hold of you, are not renowned for letting you go."

The man staggered back to the pub bleeding heavily.

Pub manager Mark Phillips said staff told him that the man reappeared at about 11pm with bits of bark hanging off him and flesh gouged out of his limbs.

"They said he had chunks out of his legs and things like that," Mr Phillips told The West Australian news website.

An average of two people are killed each year in Australia by aggressive saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 7m (23 ft) long and weigh more than a tonne.

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