The horrifying death of a woman, seized by a crocodile in the Daintree National Park north of Cairns in far north Queensland, has propelled Australia into world headlines.
News outlets around the planet picked up the story, some linking it with a reported attack on two cyclists by an enraged kangaroo in South Australia.
The latest Aussie crocodile horror saw Cindy Waldron, 46, from Lithgow in New South Wales, seized by a giant croc in waist-deep water at Thornton Beach near Cape Tribulation, while swimming with a friend in the dark, about 10.30pm on Sunday.
“A croc’s got me,” are reported to have been the victim’s last words.
Waldron’s 47-year-old friend tried to grab her and drag her to safety but tragically failed, police said.
The presumed fatality follows a spate of crocodile attacks in Australia’s tropical Far North this year, including an incident where a croc tried to drag a camper out of his tent by the foot. Just three weeks ago, a 72-year-old man told rescuers in the Northern Territory of how he watched his friend drown and then cracked a rampaging crocodile’s skull with a spanner. See: Man whacked crocodile with spanner after fatal attack
After the attack in which Waldron was taken, local crocodile experts have spoken of a five-metre crocodile loitering in the area for several weeks.
In South Australia meanwhile, two cyclists have described the frightening moment they were attacked by an angry kangaroo.
The irate marsupial pounced on Sharon Heinrich and Helen Salter as they enjoyed a cycle ride on the popular Riesling Trail, Clare Valley. Heinrich suffered three cracked ribs and Salter was concussed, the Northern Argus reported.
With monster crocs and crazed kangaroos being the stuff of tabloid newspaper headlines, papers and news sites have carried the stories worldwide. The croc attack featured prominently in Britain’s mass-circulation Daily Mail, and on the US-based Drudge Report, one of the world’s biggest news aggregator sites, visited in the past year 8.8 billion times.
Rather than scaring tourists off, evidence suggests that such stories have the opposite effect. Massive crocodiles, aggressive and bad-tempered kangaroos, lethal sharks, venomous reptiles and deadly creepy-crawlies add a certain thrill to visiting Australia, reinforcing its appeal as a wild and untamed part of the world.
Written by Peter Needham