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Australian teen escapes crocodile by 'punching' it

A young Australian survived a crocodile attack after jumping into a crocodile-infested river on a dare. The youth managed to save himself by punching the animal in the head, according to local media.

The 18-year-old, Lee de Paauw, was "reveling with friends" early on Sunday before jumping into the Johnstone River in Queensland.

"Reports from the scene are he was dared to jump into the water, which he did and unfortunately that area is well-known for its crocodile population," Queensland paramedic Neil Noble told reporters.

One of the crocodiles attacked him by grabbing his left arm and mauling it. However, the teen managed to get free after punching the predator in the head, according to Australian media.

Hit it in the eyes

De Paauw's friends managed to get him out of the water quickly, which helped him survive. The youth sustained "extensive injuries," and his left arm was barely attached after the incident, Noble said.

"Hopefully surgeons can help him and restore full use of his arm," Noble added. "We are just very grateful that he's survived this incident because it could have turned out to be quite fatal."

Normally, crocodiles use their weight to roll their victims and drown them under water. Animal experts recommend attacking the predator's eyes in case of an attack. The animals kill an average of two people per year in Australia. Last May, a New Zealand woman was killed by a 4-meter (13-foot) crocodile in Queensland, and a man died after trying to cross the East Alligator River in Northern Territory.

dj/tj (dpa, AFP)