Christopher Perger shares story after crocodile attack in Kakadu National Park

Left: Christopher Perger from Wollongong on NSW's South Coast. Right: File photo
Left: Christopher Perger from Wollongong on NSW's South Coast. Right: File photo

Christopher Perger says he's lucky to be alive after a large crocodile leapt into his fishing boat in Kakadu National Park and latched onto his waist.

The 32-year-old was fishing with friends on the South Alligator River on Saturday, April 24 when the reptile launched itself out of the water and into the vessel.

Brothers Ben and Riley Wilson of Shoalhaven Heads, on NSW's South Coast and Grant Barlow of Griffith, in the state's Riverina, were all aboard - but Riley saw the croc first.

Christopher Perger from Wollongong says a close encounter with a croc won't keep him from fishing. Pictures: Supplied

Christopher Perger from Wollongong says a close encounter with a croc won't keep him from fishing. Pictures: Supplied

"The sun had just gone down and we were making some dinner when Riley turned around and shone his torch into the water and there was a croc ready to jump," Ben Wilson said.

"Riley jumped up, and the croc just launched itself into the boat - its bottom jaw locked onto the seat, and its top jaw went around Chris' waist.

"It was in the boat flapping around, and then it flapped back around and was out of the boat."

Christopher Perger with brothers Ben and Riley Wilson and Grant Barlow during their three-week trip.

Christopher Perger with brothers Ben and Riley Wilson and Grant Barlow during their three-week trip.

The quick attack stunned the lads into silence; then they realised Mr Perger was bleeding.

"It all happened so fast," Mr Perger said. "It didn't even hurt at first there was so much adrenalin running through me - and then it started to sting.

"Riley definitely saved my life - once he yelled 'croc' I jumped behind the seat. If it wasn't for him the croc would have had its jaws completely around me."

Plans to spend the night aboard the 5.5m boat dashed, they travelled the 90km back to the boat ramp. And at first light ... they went fishing.

"We're on a three-week trip - we're here to chase the big barramundi," Mr Perger said. "So the next morning we went fishing.

"But after we talked to some other (fishers) they told me I needed urgent medical attention, as crocs carry bacteria in their mouth."

Damage to the seat, which was inbetween the crocodile and Mr Perger.

Damage to the seat, which was inbetween the crocodile and Mr Perger.

Mr Perger sought treatment at the Jabiru Health Centre, undergoing a surgical procedure and then a course of antibiotics.

"They have to cut away some of the affected skin to get rid of any bacteria," he said. "There was a possibility I may have had to be flown to Darwin for further surgery, but fortunately that wasn't the case."

Measurements of the teeth marks on his skin led experts to estimate the size of the crocodile as 4.5m to 5.5m.

"If that chair hadn't been between me and the croc, it could have been a different story," Mr Perger said.

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A look at the friend's venture 'Southcoast Adventures' and 'Twice Eyewear' on social media shows they're all about 'Exploring Australia and Living the Dream' and this latest incident isn't going to stop them in their tracks.

"We're finishing our trip," Mr Perger said. "This hasn't slowed us down."

Surgery was needed for the gash, to get rid of any bacteria.

Surgery was needed for the gash, to get rid of any bacteria.

Crocodile expert Adam Britton said the behaviour was unusual.

"Certainly from the damage done to the seat which the crocodile bit, and also the grazing ... it was a pretty big crocodile," he said.

He said usually crocs would not jump into a boat. "It's very unusual for a crocodile to do that, to actually come all the way up into a boat," he said. "A croc is capable of doing that but in terms of motivation [they'll] generally stay away.

"So for them to do that, there has to be a very specific reason for it to do it's. If there's a really tempting smell of food, that's a really good reason to do that."

Kakadu National Park staff are searching for the crocodile.

"Crocodiles exhibiting aggressive behaviour are captured and assessed before being relocated," a park spokesperson said.

"Consultation with Traditional Owners takes place before a decision to destroy a crocodile is taken."

The park's crocodile management team surveys crocodiles in the park to monitor activity, numbers and behaviour.

"Crocodile management is a key responsibility of all rangers in Kakadu National Park," the spokesperson said.

This story 'It all happened so fast': man caught in jaws of croc first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.