1 February, 2021
Croc man rides again
| CAIRNS LOCAL NEWS EXCLUSIVE | Mark Ridge is surprisingly energetic for someone who recently got chewed on by a crocodile. Just one day after a 2.5 metre crocodile clamped its jaws down on his head, Mr Ridge rode his bike back to Lake Placid to show us where the terrifying attack occurred.
In an exclusive video interview with Cairns Local News, Mr Ridge showed off the puncture wounds in his head, neck and shoulders which paramedics say were just centimetres from vital arteries.
"It was up there about 400 metres. See that big rock? Just across from that big rock on the other side of the river," explains Mr Ridge, pointing upstream.
“I was just cruising along - a nice peaceful swim - and it came along and just went ‘bang!’"
“I didn’t see it coming, I just felt this incredible force on my head. Then I reached around felt all these teeth, and had to fight it off.
“You’ve gotta stay calm. If you panic it’s no good.
“I had to grab him by the jaws and basically pry them apart. I got a few bite marks on my fingers.”
Despite being back on his bike, Mr Ridge said he was taking it slow.
“You can’t see a lot now but it’s still pretty sore. It hurts to eat because my jaw’s sore," he said.
“I had a few little pieces of croc teeth left in my head - some souvenirs!”
The 56-year-old Kamerunga local has been swimming at the lake three times a week for years as part of his fitness training.
“Last year I did 600 kilometres in the lake, and I’ve been swimming for more than 20 years here, with never a problem,” he said.
White-water rafting tours which finish in the lake were operating as normal the day after the incident.
Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Science have placed a trap at the lake.
“They’ll have to get (the croc). They can’t have crocs going around here trying to eat people," said Mr Ridge.
“It’s not good to have man-eating crocs in the city, is it.”
Mr Ridge expressed hopes that the crocodile would be removed soon so he could resume swimming there.
Under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan, Lake Placid is within Zone B (Active Removal Zone). This means that any crocodile confirmed to be present is targeted for removal by DES and its contractors.
“The Wet Season is breeding time for estuarine crocodiles and they may behave more aggressively and become more territorial at this time,” said a DES spokesperson.
“Lake Placid and the Cairns region is known Croc Country and we urge people in the area to always be Croc wise.”
- Expect crocodiles in ALL far northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
- Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe
- Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
- Stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating
- The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
- Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure
- Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
- Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country
- Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372 or the QWildlife App.
Further information is available at Be Crocwise.