(Reuters) - An Australian teenager who was bitten by a crocodile when he jumped into a river in northern Queensland on a dare is now recovering in hospital and looking forward to a date with the British backpacker he was trying to impress.
Lee De Paauw, 18, had met Sophie Paterson while drinking at with a group of friends into the early hours of Sunday morning at a backpackers’ hostel in Innisfail in northern Queensland.
According to local media, De Paauw told Paterson that backpackers were more likely to get eaten by crocodiles than Australians, and was ready to back up his words.
Accepting a dare to jump from the wharf into the crocodile-infested Johnstone River, he was grabbed almost immediately by a crocodile.
“At that point, I punched it in the snout”, De Paauw said from his hospital bed in Cairns. “My second hit, I got it straight in the eye, and then it let go.”
De Paauw suffered serious injuries to his left arm and underwent surgery at Cairns Hospital.
“I think he’s very brave to be, you know, in such high spirits after what happened,” said Paterson, who said she has agreed to go on a date with De Paauw.
“She’s beautiful, caring and kind,” said De Paauw.
Asked to account for his own actions, De Paauw was under no illusions.
“Stupidity,” De Paauw said, “You know there’s crocs there.”
Reporting by Reuters Television, Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore