Australia: Father saves toddler from dingo attack | News | DW | 19.04.2019
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Australia: Father saves toddler from dingo attack

An Australian man has saved his 14-month-old son from the jaws of a dingo after the child was dragged from a campervan. The attack on Fraser Island is the third there this year.

An Australian father fought off several dingoes to rescue his 14-month-old son after the animals dragged the toddler from a campervan on popular Fraser Island early on Friday morning, a paramedic said.

"The parents awoke with the toddler crying and heard the crying getting further away from the campervan," Fraser Island paramedic Ben Du Toit told local media.

"The dad got out of the campervan to investigate and found the dingo dragging the toddler away from the campervan. He also spotted several other dingoes in the ... immediate vicinity. He immediately ran up and grabbed his son and chased some of the dingoes off," he added.

Fraser Island beach (picture alliance/Robert Harding)

Fraser Island is a World Heritage-listed site

Multiple attacks

The boy suffered injuries to the head and neck and was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital. The attack is the third this year on Fraser Island, a popular tourist destination off the coast of the eastern state of Queensland. Authorities on the island have warned visitors in the past to avoid the dog-like animals and not to leave food that could attract them.

A French mother and son were mauled by dingoes on Fraser Island in March after accidentally coming across a pack of the animals, and a 6-year-old boy was also attacked on the island in January.

The animal, introduced to Australia some 4,000 years ago, is protected on Fraser Island, though it is classed as a pest in many other places in Australia. Some 200 are thought to inhabit the island in packs of up to 30.

Read more: German museum returns indigenous remains to Australia 

Famous case

Dingoes were at the center of one of the most famous criminal cases in Australian history, when the baby Azaria Chamberlain disappeared at Uluru, often known as Ayers Rock, in 1980. The girl's mother, Lindy, who always maintained her daughter had been taken by a dingo, was convicted of murder and Azaria's father, Michael, of being an accessory.

The convictions were overturned in 1988 after some of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo's lair. The couple were paid 1.3 million Australian dollars (€826,943, $929,435) in compensation in 1992. In 2012, a fourth inquest confirmed that Azaria had been snatched from a tent by a dingo.

In March, several Australian researchers determined that the dingo was a native species in its own right rather than being a wild dog, as has been commonly accepted.

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tj/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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