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Kununurra crocodile attack: Fisherman Kyle Hutchinson recalls escape from Buttons Crossing in WA’s Kimberley

Sarah CrawfordThe Kimberley Echo
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Hours later when he was out of hospital and bandaged up Mr Hutchinson was recounting his lucky escape from the crocodile over a frothy at the Hotel Kununurra.
Camera IconHours later when he was out of hospital and bandaged up Mr Hutchinson was recounting his lucky escape from the crocodile over a frothy at the Hotel Kununurra. Credit: Facebook

Bleeding from a croc bite to the knee, fisho Kyle Hutchinson and his mates were forced to wade back through rapids armed only with a stick and on the lookout for the 2½m saltie to attack again.

Hours later when he was out of hospital and bandaged up Mr Hutchinson was recounting his lucky escape from the crocodile over a frothy at the Hotel Kununurra.

Mr Hutchinson told 6PR radio on Monday that he was, “counting my lucky stars at the moment — it could have been a lot worse.”

The child protection worker was fishing on Saturday afternoon with his mate, Tim Lanzon, and another friend near Buttons Crossing when he was bitten.

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“I was walking through some rapids down near Buttons Crossing looking for a spot to go for a flick and I sort of stepped into a puddle that you know was a bit murky and I didn’t see into it too well and there was a two, two-and-half-metre crocodile hiding in it, just jumped out had a bite of my knee and took off,” he said.

Mr Hutchinson said it went back underwater and he and his mates had to wade back to shore uncertain if it would return.

“We had to cross the rapid again so we didn’t know if it was going to come back around so we got ourselves a big stick and made our way back to the car, so we had to cross a few more bits of water but we made it there and made it to hospital.”

Mr Hutchinson had deep gouges to his leg, he described the pain as like, “being stabbed in the knee”.

Kyle Hutchinson was bitten by a 2.5m crocodile at Buttons Crossing on Saturday December 3,
Camera IconKyle Hutchinson was bitten by a 2½m crocodile at Buttons Crossing on Saturday, December 3. Credit: Facebook

“I didn’t feel it for about half an hour because my heart rate was racing so quick, so it wasn’t until I nearly got to the hospital that it started paining,” he said.

“I was very lucky, mate, if it was a big one, I could have had no leg or no heartbeat right about now.”

After his wound was cleaned and bandaged at hospital it was time for a beer.

Kyle Hutchinson's wounds after being bitten by a juvenile salt-water crocodile in Kununurra.
Camera IconKyle Hutchinson's wounds after being bitten by a juvenile salt-water crocodile in Kununurra. Credit: Instagram

“Sure did, mate, had to be done,” he told 6PR.

“A few people came in and had a yarn. I don’t think too many had met someone who had a croc bite, then been to the pub after.”

After nearly being a croc’s lunch, Mr Hutchinson and his friends ensured crocodile was on the menu that night.

“We had some croc spring rolls that night — croc burger wasn’t on the menu so we had the spring rolls instead,” he said.

Mr Hutchinson said he had never seen crocodiles at Buttons Crossing before and his friend, who had more experience fishing in the area, had also believed it was fairly safe from salties.

“I didn’t see any before this one. . . but one of my mates has reassured me that he has been there one hundred times and didn’t see many, so I blame him for this one.”

WA Parks and Wildlife staff have observed a surge in crocodile numbers in the Ord River.

In the past five years, the numbers have doubled and are now estimated to be about 2000.

Rangers have expressed concern about the number of people wading into the water at Ivanhoe Crossing which is south of Buttons Crossing.

A spokesperson from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions said the incident at Buttons Crossing had not been reported to them yet.

“The saltwater crocodile population in the Lower Ord River was most recently estimated at 2,000.

“Visitors should remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions to stay safe at all times.

“Any attacks or encounters with crocodiles showing aggressive behaviour, should be reported to the Parks and Wildlife Service Kununurra office on 9168 4200.

“For more information on crocodile safety visit Be Crocwise In croc country - Kununurra (dpaw.wa.gov.au).

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